Columbia College Chicago’s President Kwang-Wu Kim Appoints Laurent Pernot as Chief of Staff

Former Executive Vice Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago to Advance Columbia Initiatives

CHICAGO (June 19, 2017)—Columbia College Chicago’s President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim has appointed Laurent Pernot as chief of staff. Pernot, who has more than 20 years of experience in organizational management and institutional advancement, will assume the role on July 5, 2017.

Pernot will serve as senior strategic advisor and aide to Kim, and will serve on the president’s cabinet. He will be responsible for overseeing all operations of the Office of the President and will serve as the president’s primary liaison to the college’s Board of Trustees. Pernot will also advise the president and Board chair on issues regarding policy, governance, and strategy. He will assist in developing and supporting strategies that foster internal and external partnerships, and help advance key initiatives and projects, including the college’s Strategic Plan.

“Laurent’s expertise in leading institutional change and organizational development and in engaging stakeholders brings tremendous value to the college,” said Kim. “I am confident that Laurent will help to advance our strategic priorities and further elevate the college’s position in Chicago and nationally. I am delighted to welcome Laurent to Columbia.”

Prior to joining Columbia, Pernot served as executive vice chancellor and senior advisor of City Colleges of Chicago, a seven-campus system with more than 90,000 students, 3,500 staff members, and a $524 million operating budget. He oversaw the rebranding of City Colleges and helped coordinate system-wide efforts in support of its Reinvention Initiative, which resulted in record-level student graduation and completion rates within the last six years. Pernot also helped to coordinate the design concept, project structure, and bond issues for construction of the new $251 million Malcolm X College, which opened in January 2016. Additionally, he was instrumental in launching the College to Careers and Chicago Star scholarship initiatives, and successfully negotiated labor contracts, including with full-time faculty.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to join Columbia’s diverse community, especially during its time of critical, strategic change,” said Pernot. “Many communities in Chicago and around the world experience cultural and economic growth through the arts, media, entrepreneurship, and other creative fields in which Columbia’s role is essential. I am looking forward to helping further enable the creative energy that makes Columbia so unique, and to working with President Kim, senior leadership, and the broader community to help Columbia realize its vision.”

Pernot has two decades of experience advancing and implementing institutional agendas and change, having worked in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Office of Public Affairs and for prominent regional and national public affairs consultancies. He also led advocacy, marketing, government, and community relations for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits. As principal at Platform Public Affairs, Pernot served as communications counsel to the Chicago Children’s Museum, and public relations counsel and spokesperson for the Toyota Park soccer and concert venue. As vice president of public affairs at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, he led communications for the Alliance to Protect the Illinois Constitution, a successful Illinois referendum effort to keep key state constitutional protections intact. Additionally, he was part of the team that helped launch the education advocacy organization Advance Illinois. Pernot previously served as vice president of Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications, overseeing legislative and public awareness campaigns for industry associations and the City of Chicago, and handling issues involving education, healthcare and regulation for companies such as AT&T, CNA, Mesirow Financial, and Nicor.

Pernot is the author of the peer-reviewed book Before the Ivy: The Cubs’ Glory Years in Pre-Wrigley Chicago and the short story Fernand: A French Family in War. Pernot earned an MA and BA in political science from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts and business for more than 8,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Cara Birch, 312-369-8695,

Anjali Julka, 312-369-7016,