Mesirow CEO Tyree Dies, Founded Firm's Private Equity Business

Mar 18 2011 | 12:55pm ET

James Tyree, who led Mesirow Financial Holdings for 17 years, has died.

The cause was an unrelated complication of the cancer he was diagnosed with in October, a Mesirow spokeswoman said. He was 53.

Tyree was named CEO of Mesirow in 1994. He played a big role in the firm's alternative investments businesses, founding Mesirow Financial Private Equity Advisors in 1982 and serving as a director of Mesirow's $13.9 billion fund of hedge funds unit, Mesirow Advanced Strategies.

"Of course we are saddened by the loss of Mr. Tyree," Greg Fedorinchik, head of Mesirow Advanced Strategies, said. "He was a unique individual in his ability to make everyone around here, from the most senior business leader to the guys delivering the mail, feel proud to be a part of this firm."

"Jim was a quintessential Chicagoan, a South Side kid from humble roots who worked his way to the top but never left the city behind," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "He was beloved for what he gave back to the city that gave him so much—from his work with non-profit organizations, to his service on the board of the University of Chicago Medical Center, to his role in giving the Sun-Times a new lease on life."

Mesirow is expected to name Richard Price, currently president and chief operating officer, to succeed Tyree as chairman and CEO.

Tyree is survived by his wife and three children.

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