CHICAGO -- Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago last week appointed his former corporation counsel as chairman of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.

Kelly R. Welsh, 41, who served as Daley's corporation counsel for four years before leaving for Ameritech Corp. in 1993, replaces John R. Schmidt. President Clinton recently named Schmidt associate U.S. attorney general, the number three post in the Justice Department.

Welsh will retain his job as a vice president and associate general counsel at Ameritech while he fills out the remainder of Schmidt's five-year term, which expires in June 1997, according to a press release.

In the release, Daley said that Welsh is "a highly respected professional and a very astute manager, which is what this critical position demands."

Daley's appointment of Welsh as authority chairman must be approved by Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar.

A spokeswoman for Edgar said Friday that the governor has "a very high opinion" of Welsh but reserves further comment until after a scheduled meeting with Welsh Friday afternoon.

In the release, Welsh said he looks forward to continuing the implementation of improvements at Navy Pier and the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago.

The authority last month sold $197 million of refunding and new money bonds for McCormick Place.

-- April Hattori

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