The 9th Annual Director of the Year Awards recognizes leadership and accomplishment of directors in New England. This event is conducted by the only not-for-profit membership organization founded by and for corporate directors. Through a national presence in Washington, D.C. and over 20 active regional chapters across the country, the NACD is the leading organization dedicated to enhancing corporate governance in the United States. NACD has been active nationally for over 35 years.
Each year, NACDNE recognizes independent directors of public, private, and non-profit boards who have made valuable contributions to the boards on which they serve, as well as entire boards that have significantly protected or enhanced stakeholder value. The awards will be presented at a formal ceremony on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, at the Seaport Hotel.
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“This year’s honorees come from diverse industries, but share a commitment to excellence,” said R. Robert Popeo, President of NACD New England Chapter and Chairman and President of Mintz Levin. “In an age of increased scrutiny of corporate governance, it is critical that boards of directors take a leadership role in defining the values and priorities of the companies they oversee. These honorees are up to the task, setting high standards for their own companies and leading the region in creating best practices for boardroom performance.”
Nominations for consideration of the awards are reviewed by selection committees made up of New England business and community leaders.
“This year’s honorees were selected from a very strong field of candidates, which speaks to the incredible talent behind some of the leading companies in the New England region,” said Bob Gallery, Massachusetts Bank of America President and 2015 Chair, Director of the Year Selection Committee. “We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of this year’s impressive honorees and sharing their stories with other business leaders as examples of strong corporate governance in action.”
This year, NACD New England Chapter will be honoring three individual board members and two boards. The 2015 honorees are:
Lifetime Achievement in Governance: Chad Gifford
With a career spanning more than 40 years, Mr. Gifford is widely regarded as one of the top minds in the banking services industry. During his tenure with Bank of Boston, BankBoston, Fleet Bank and Bank of America, he has provided strong and responsive leadership through strategic transformation, multiple mergers and dramatic growth. Mr. Gifford now serves as a director and as Chairman Emeritus of Bank of America Corporation, a position he has held since his retirement as Chairman in 2005. He is also a director of CBS Corporation and Northeast Utilities, where he served as Lead Trustee from May, 2007 through April, 2012. Mr. Gifford is chairman of BPE and was the founding chairman of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay’s “Success By 6” initiative. He is active on a number of non-profit boards in the fields of education and healthcare, including Partners HealthCare System, Inc., The Massachusetts General Hospital, Red Sox Foundation, Northeastern University, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, and is a past chairman of The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Throughout his career, Mr. Gifford placed a high premium on corporate integrity in the conduct of business with shareholders, customers, employees and the community. He has provided tremendous personal leadership to the values of diversity and community involvement.
Leadership in Corporate Governance: Ellen Zane
Ms. Zane is a nationally renowned health care leader who recently retired as President & Chief Executive Officer of Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children. Ellen remains involved at Tufts Medical Center as a vice chair of the Board of Trustees. From 1994 to 2004, Ellen held the position of Network President for Partners HealthCare System, Inc. Along with her work as an executive, Ms. Zane has a strong record of public and nonprofit board leadership. She serves as Lead Director of Fiduciary Trust Company, and is currently a Director of Brooks Automation; Haemonetics Corporation; Parexel International; Press Ganey; and AgNovos Healthcare, LLC and Century Capital Management. Ms. Zane is also the current Chair of the Board of Wellforce (Parent Board of Tufts Medical Center) and Chair of the Board of Minutemen Health. She is the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at George Washington University. Ms. Zane is a Trustee Emeritus of Northeastern University, and a former Trustee of the University of Massachusetts. Ms. Zane received her Professional Director Certification from the American College of Corporate Directors in 2013, her Bachelor of Arts degree from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in 1973, and her Master of Arts degree in 1975 from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. She also holds a number of honorary degrees.
Myra H. Kraft Award for Non-Profit Leadership: Bill Achtmeyer
Mr. Achtmeyer is Chairman and Managing Partner of Parthenon, which combined with Ernst & Young in 2014. Parthenon is a strategic advisory organization for business leaders worldwide. Mr. Achtmeyer is recognized for his expertise in corporate and business unit strategy as well as for his generosity. Under Mr. Achtmeyer’s leadership, Parthenon’s approach to philanthropy has been focused on investing in organizations within the community, supporting direct volunteer activities, and providing pro-bono consulting services to guide non-profit organizations in strategic planning for long-term success. Mr. Achtmeyer is known as a leader in the Boston arts community: he serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as an Overseer at the Museum of Fine Arts, and as a Governor at the Handel & Haydn Society. He is also highly committed to education and children’s advocacy. He serves as Chairman of Tenacity, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Belmont Hill School. He served as Chairman of the Board of Overseers at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Chairman of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and Director at Citizens Energy Corporation. Mr. Achtmeyer holds a B.A. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Private Company Board of the Year: Eastern Bank Corporation
Eastern Bank is the oldest and largest mutual bank in the country. The bank serves more than 450,000 consumers and businesses across eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire, and has over 100 banking and insurance offices. Eastern Bank’s 12-person board is made up of leaders in the banking, insurance, and finance community and has established a strong reputation of community engagement and inclusiveness. For over a decade, Eastern Bank has committed to giving 10 percent of its net income to charity through its Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. The Foundation distributes millions in annual grants to organizations in the various eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire communities served by Eastern Bank Corporation.
Public Company Board of the Year: Biogen Idec
Biogen Idec, based in Cambridge, Mass., is one of the world’s oldest independent biotechnology companies. Biogen is the leading developer of treatments for multiple sclerosis. With five important therapies, one out of every two patients prescribed an MS treatment now chooses a Biogen product. Biogen is also an emerging leader in the development of treatments for hemophilia. In 2014, the company introduced two long-acting clotting factors that represent the first meaningful treatment advances for the hemophilia community in nearly two decades. Biogen also has a pipeline with several candidates that have the potential to transform the treatment paradigm for conditions like secondary progressive MS, spinal muscular atrophy, neuropathic pain and Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen’s directors are leaders in industries including biotechnology, venture capital and finance, energy, public health and public service. During the past half decade, the Biogen board has overseen the evolution of the organization from a single-product company focused primarily in the U.S. market to a company with broad global reach, footholds in two significant disease categories and one of the premier research and development engines in the biopharma industry. All of this has been achieved while returning annual double-digit earnings and revenue growth.