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Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination and nonprofit cultural institution, announced today the appointment of Arnaldo “Arnie” Rivera to the newly created executive-level position of Chief Administrative and Equity Officer. Effective Monday, May 24, Rivera will lead the Pier’s key administrative functions, including People and Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Community Engagement, Legal, and Data Analytics. As a member of the executive leadership team, Rivera will work to advance Navy Pier’s mission and values as the organization celebrates its 10-year anniversary as a nonprofit and recovers from the pandemic.
“As Navy Pier reemerges from the pandemic and looks to revive one of the city’s most treasured nonprofit institutions, there is no one better equipped and more energized to help lead us into this next era of the Pier’s transformation than Arnie,” said Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO of Navy Pier. “A highly respected leader in our city, Arnie brings an impressive wealth of knowledge and management experience, along with a unique and refreshing perspective to the organization. I am confident that his talents, skills and unmatched passion for Chicago will prove to be of great value to the Pier as we work together to elevate our mission and better serve our local and global community, especially in this time of great need.”
Rivera comes to Navy Pier after most recently serving as the Chief Operating Officer for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), where he was responsible for overseeing the operations of one of the largest public school systems in the country. His responsibilities included managing 700 schools, modular buildings, annexes and administrative offices across the district. He also developed and executed the strategic planning and budget processes for more than $2.5 billion in capital construction since 2018, the largest three-year outlay in the history of the district. Under Rivera’s leadership, CPS successfully implemented a comprehensive nutrition program, the third largest K-12 food service program in the United States, serving 62 million meals to students each year. In addition, he led several critical divisions on behalf of CPS, including student transportation, safety and security, information technology and key contract negotiations.
Rivera’s versatility and strong management experience will translate well to the Pier as he looks to help the Midwest’s top-attended destination pivot from the challenges brought on by the pandemic and rebuild and revitalize the organization.
“Meaningful change and impact starts from within, and I am thrilled to join Navy Pier to help build a foundation that will allow this invaluable nonprofit organization to better serve the Chicagoland community and global guests for years to come,” said Rivera. “As a longtime Chicagoan, I have a deep-rooted love and passion for this city and its most iconic institutions—especially Navy Pier. I look forward to helping advance its commendable mission and augmenting efforts that will strengthen our community.”
Rivera’s previous roles include Senior Strategic Advisor for After School Matters and Chief Operating Officer for the Chicago Public Education Fund. At After School Matters, he was responsible for the development and management of a long-term growth strategy to support the organization’s growth from 20,000 students to more than 30,000 students in a five-year period. As COO at Chicago Public Education Fund, Rivera successfully led the execution of the organization’s development strategy, helping raise $20 million for the Fund. In addition to his work in the nonprofit space, Rivera has served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Education at the City of Chicago. He also worked as a financial analyst for Lehman Brothers, Inc. in New York City at the onset of his career.
Rivera’s illustrious career has garnered high praise and accolades from the Chicagoland community. In 2018, he was named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ coveted 40 under 40 list. Rivera’s Chicago area roots extend to his time as a student at Northwestern University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Master of Science in Education and Social Policy.
Rivera’s appointment comes shortly after Navy Pier began its phased reopening, restoring public access to select outdoor spaces and attractions on Friday, April 30, following a nearly eight-month closure. Over the coming weeks, the Pier will continue to cautiously resume its operations with public health and safety at the forefront.