MassPort Close to Finding Next Chief Executive Officer with Finalists Due Thursday

May 15, 2024

The Massachusetts Port Authority appears to be nearing a decision on its next chief executive officer, with the board of directors scheduled to receive a “recommendation of finalists” during a Thursday morning meeting.

Speculation is swirling around the name of the next person in line for the job, which has in the past come with a more than $400,000 a year salary. The position opened up last year when Lisa Wieland stepped down from the quasi-public agency she led for four years to take over National Grid’s New England operations.

An agenda for Thursday’s board meeting includes a report and recommendations of finalists for the position from a search committee. A MassPort spokesperson said they could not confirm specific candidates and the search committee was still working on the matter.

“They have not yet deliberated or determined finalists. It is anticipated the committee will make a recommendation of finalists to the full MassPort Board on Thursday. The vote for CEO would happen at a later date,” MassPort spokesperson Jennifer Mehigan said in a statement to the Herald.

Local news outlets in New York have named Richard Davey, the former general manager of the MBTA and transportation secretary under former Gov. Deval Patrick, as a potential candidate for the job.

Two sources told the Herald Davey could be in line for the job but nothing was finalized.

The search committee plans to meet Thursday a half hour before the full MassPort board with an agenda that calls for a closed-door conversation for the “deliberation and recommendation of finalists” for the top job at the agency.

Davey was chosen in 2015 to lead Boston 2024, an unsuccessful bid to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to the city. He left Boston to serve as the president of the New York City Transit Authority, which oversees the city’s subways and buses, in May 2022.

Edward Freni, the director of aviation at MassPort, took over as MassPort’s interim executive officer after Wieland left. Freni earns $421,143 a year in his interim role, according to payroll records reviewed by the Herald.

Wieland was appointed to the post in 2019 and pulled in more than $330,000 a year while working in the top staff position. She earned more than $417,000 in 2022, according to payroll records.

MassPort oversees three airports — Logan International Airport, Hanscom Field, and Worcester Regional Airport — as well as the Port of Boston.

In recent months, the quasi-public agency has also responded to a number of migrant families sleeping at Logan International Airport, a result of an influx of new-arrivals who are often fleeing dangerous home conditions.

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