Wieland gets nod for Massport CEO post

Current port director tapped for top post

LISA WIELAND WAS selected to be the next chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority, taking over from the longtime stewardship of Tom Glynn, who retired last year.

A divided Massport board of directors, which is almost entirely made up of Gov. Charlie Baker’s appointees, chose Wieland over the only other finalist, Brian Golden. John Pranckevicius, the acting CEO who had been a candidate, will return to his position as chief financial officer of the quasi-public agency.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said Wieland had the best private sector resume of any of the candidates who applied for the position and worried that Golden hadn’t yet led an agency with the size and operational complexity of Massport.

“This would be a big step up in scope and complexity in terms of his history,” said Pollack, who said Wieland had a proven track record managing maritime issues in Boston. Pollack also said Baker had not influenced the selection.

The choice before the authority’s board could be viewed through a couple different lenses. In some ways it was a decision between Golden the political insider who served in the House from 1999-2005, and Wieland the Massport insider who has worked for the agency since 2006. Or it was a choice between two of Massport’s three key responsibilities: operating port facilities, developing its real estate portfolio and managing three airports. Wieland is director of the port, and before that was chief administrative officer of the Maritime division. Golden is chief executive of the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

There is also the question of adding gender diversity to Boston leadership positions. Pollack noted last week that she would like the transportation industry to have more racial and gender diversity. Both Wieland and Golden are white, but Wieland becomes the second woman to head the agency.

Wieland and Golden both brought stellar resumes to the search process, and board members emphasized that they were both capable of handling the job.

“Either of them could be a very successful CEO. They would each be a different CEO,” Pollack said.

John Nucci, who is the only member not appointed by Baker, and Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis both said they preferred Golden for his political experience and working with the community.

“He has been right in the orbit of all the real estate activities that have taken place at the port,” said Nucci, who is appointed by the community advisory committee. “Brian Golden understands East Boston… He knows the players in East Boston.”

Massachusetts Port Authority board members Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O’Brien and Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis leaned towards different candidates to lead Massport. Evangelidis favored Brian Golden and O’Brien favored Lisa Wieland. (Photo by Andy Metzger)

The five other members of the board supported Wieland.

“I see her being able to take this organization into the future,” said board member Patricia Jacobs, who is president of AT&T New England.

A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard Business School, Wieland worked for CNN from 1993 to 1999, including as an assignment editor, and later went to work for the Boston consultancy Bain & Company for four years. At Massport, Wieland was corporate planning and analysis director, and human resources strategy & employment director before taking a top role in the Maritime division.

A graduate of Harvard College, William & Mary School of Law, and the US Army War College, Golden is a colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and serves as a reservist at the Pentagon in the Army’s National Security Law Division. Before taking over the BPDA in 2014, he was New England regional director for the Bush administration’s Department of Health and Human Services and commissioner of the state’s Department of Telecommunications and Energy.

Massport runs Logan Airport, Hanscom Field, and Worcester Regional Airport. It oversees the Conley Container Terminal, the Flynn Cruiseport, the Boston Autoport, and Fish Pier, all located around Boston Harbor.

Meet the Author

Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

The agency that was created in 1956 also owns 650 acres of real estate in Boston where it has been an active developer, putting together plans for two 21-story towers with more than 1,000 hotel rooms and other facilities across from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The agency has recently struggled to manage traffic and parking at Logan, including new protocols and fees for Uber and Lyft drivers.

Thursday’s meeting near Logan was delayed because board member Warren Fields had a delayed flight from New York, according to Massport.