MLS club Chicago Fire FC has hired Ishwara Glassman Chrein as its new president to oversee all aspects of the Fire’s business operations. Glassman Chrein comes to Chicago after serving as Yahoo Sports / Verizon Media’s head of sports partnerships and business development. She also spent nine years at WME IMG Sports, Entertainment and Media, finishing as SVP and global head of sales operations and strategic planning.
Glassman Chrein succeeds Nelson Rodriguez, who resigned from the role in January after five years with the club. Glassman Chrein will join the Fire on June 1. The club is currently second-to-last in the Eastern Conference with a record of 0-1-4.
The club came under new ownership in 2019 when longtime owner Andrew Hauptman sold his controlling interest in the franchise to billionaire Joe Mansueto, who founded Chicago-based investment research firm Morningstar in 1984 and continues to serve as its executive chairman. Mansueto also owns business magazines Inc. and Fast Company.
Glassman Chrein and sporting director Georg Heitz, who joined the club in December 2019, will both report directly to Mansueto.
“I am so thrilled to be joining the Fire at such an important inflection point in the Club’s history,” Glassman Chrein said in a statement. “I’m fortunate to join a team where the owner loves Chicago, cares deeply about the players and staff, and is fully invested in building a successful team on and off the pitch. I’m looking forward to getting started and meeting everyone involved with the Club, especially the fans.”
Glassman Chrein is believed to be only the fourth woman in league history to serve in this role. She joins Danita Johnson, named D.C. United’s president of business operations in January, as one of the highest-ranking female club executives in MLS history. D.C. United also tapped a female general manager this spring in Lucy Rushton, who is just the second woman to hold the role in MLS and the first since 1999.
“In Ishwara, we have found a dynamic, experienced sports executive to head up our business operations,” Mansueto said. “She is a passionate and enthusiastic leader that has a proven track record of building businesses and increasing revenue. We believe that she can significantly grow our fanbase and be a strong ambassador for the Club throughout Chicagoland.”