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Tom Glynn stepping down as CEO of Harvard’s Allston development company

Former Massport chief helped launch Harvard’s effort to build out acreage near business school

Tom Glynn (left) and Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria in Morgan Hall at Harvard Business School.
Tom Glynn (left) and Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria in Morgan Hall at Harvard Business School.Harvard University

Tom Glynn, one of the city’s most prominent civic leaders, is stepping down as chief executive of the Harvard affiliate he helped launch to foster commercial development on university-owned land near its business school.

Glynn, who turns 75 later this month, had taken the position leading what is now called the Harvard Allston Land Co. in late 2018, soon after ending his six-year tenure as chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Glynn still has no plans to completely retire: Instead, he will teach a class on state and local government at the Harvard Kennedy School.

“I look forward to returning to the classroom to try to convince the next generation of the importance of public service,” Glynn said.


Nitin Nohria, board chair of the Harvard Allston Land Co., told colleagues about Glynn’s pending departure in a memo on Wednesday, saying Glynn would step down this summer. In that memo, Nohria said the board will appoint an interim leader and begin a search for Glynn’s successor to lead the 10-person land company.

While CEO of the Harvard affiliate, Glynn helped run the bidding process for a 14-acre development on Western Avenue, one that was eventually won by New York-based developer Tishman Speyer. The firm aims to build as much as 1.9 million square feet of mixed-used development there, as part of Harvard’s vision for an “Enterprise Research Campus.”

The Harvard job was a natural extension of Glynn’s work at the port authority because Massport launched several significant Seaport developments under his watch.

Nohria praised the work Glynn did to ensure welcoming public spaces and diversity and inclusion were important factors in the bidding process — goals that Glynn also tried to apply to Massport’s development efforts.

(Prior to his time at Massport, Glynn held top executive roles at Partners HealthCare, now known as Mass General Brigham, and the MBTA.)


“Tom Glynn leaves a remarkable legacy at Harvard,” Harvard president Larry Bacow said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have benefited from his expertise, his insight, and his leadership.”

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.