Chairman and CEO
Matthew Besler is Chairman and CEO of the Illinois Opportunity Project. With 23 years of experience in public affairs, corporate communication, and political strategy, Matt has a deep understanding of how politics and policy intersect with brand reputation, crisis/issue management, and direct-to-consumer campaigns.
In 2020 Matt oversaw the development of one of Illinois’s most significant, most successful statewide grassroots movements as part of the coalition that defeated the graduated income tax and won seven top legislative races, including the defeat of four incumbent Democrats. The field team trained and managed volunteers that knocked on 1,286,000 doors and made over 1,426,000 phone calls in just the six months leading up to the election.
As a Corporate Communications executive for Experian Americas, Matt specialized in employee engagement, corporate change, mergers/acquisitions, and divestitures. He led worldwide communication and integration strategies for the $270 million purchase of Hitwise, the $30 million investment of CheetahMail, and the $305 million acquisition of MetroMail. Additionally, he implemented an international comms. strategy for a global outsourcing initiative in South and Central America and ensured consistent messages to stakeholders relating to Experian’s 2006 initial public offering (LON: EXPN).
Matt currently serves as Chairman of Illinois Liberty PAC, a statewide political committee dedicated to supporting public policy driven by liberty and free enterprise principles. In addition, he served as Chief Strategic Advisor to then-Governor Bruce Rauner and has recruited, coached, and advised CEOs, CFOs, Governors, Statewide Officials, Congressional, and State Legislative candidates.
Matt is an NCAA Collegiate Lacrosse official and former High School lacrosse coach. He lives in Glen Ellyn, IL, with his wife Melissa and two daughters.