James E. Rooney is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, one of the region’s leading business associations.
Under Rooney’s guidance, the Boston Chamber has become the leading voice of the business community on public policy issues, weighing in on important matters such as our region’s public transportation infrastructure, economic mobility, health care costs, workforce development and policy regarding our state’s competitiveness. In addition, Rooney has focused on broadening the Chamber’s membership, including introducing new programs and initiatives designed to attract and retain next generation leaders, minority-owned and small businesses.
Prior to joining the Chamber in 2015, Rooney was executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority for nearly 15 years, overseeing the development and construction of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) and leading the management teams of four MCCA owned facilities in Massachusetts. Before moving to the MCCA in 2001, Rooney served two years as Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, chairing the Mayor’s cabinet and playing a critical role in all aspects of city governance including education, public safety, public works and transportation. He began his public career at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the nation’s fourth largest transit system, where he spent 18 years, starting as a track laborer and ending as Deputy General Manager. He also served one year as the MBTA’s Acting General Manager during a gubernatorial transition. During the 1990s, Rooney served in senior positions at the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and the Central Artery Project, Boston’s $15 billion “Big Dig” highway project.
Rooney has served in leadership positions on several boards of directors and currently sits on professional and non-profit boards including the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) North American Advisory Board/Mexico Tourism Board, the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives (ACCE), The Partnership, Inc., and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC).
Rooney has been recognized many times throughout his career for both professional and civic contributions including, a PCMA Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the global meetings industry and a City of Boston Lifetime Achievement Award for leadership and advocacy for immigrant advancement and diversity. In 2018, Rooney was named one of Boston’s Top 10 Most Influential People by Boston Magazine, and one of the “Power 50” executives who made the biggest impact on Greater Boston's business community and the region's overall economy by the Boston Business Journal.
Rooney grew up in South Boston and attended the prestigious Boston Latin School, graduating as president of his class. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College and attended the Boston University Graduate School of Management.