Kyle Grimes remembers it like it was yesterday.
Two decades ago, he was driving home to Burlington, Vt., from a company meeting at Hearst’s WCVB-TV station in Needham when he called his wife and told her he wanted to work there someday.
That wish came true in early 2020. That’s when Hearst promoted Grimes, who had moved up the ranks into a management career, to be general manager of Boston’s ABC affiliate, taking over for Bill Fine.
Grimes’s dream job just got even better: Hearst has promoted him again, to oversee Hearst’s other New England stations as well. And this time, Grimes doesn’t have to move. In his 24-year career with the broadcasting giant, he’s tallied up 9,988 miles of moving from station to station. He’s happy he won’t have to add any more.
In his new job as vice president of Hearst’s New England operations, Grimes will oversee a workforce of about 600 people. That includes 250 at WCVB, where he will remain the GM. The other stations will keep their general managers as well, although they’ll report to Grimes.
The names and faces have changed somewhat since he was first impressed by the team at WCVB some 20 years ago, but he said the sense of mission and purpose has not.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever worked with a group of people who are as invested in the thing they do as the people who work here,” Grimes said. “The people who work here care about this television station deeply.”
Each Hearst market in the region has its own distinct personality: WCVB-TV in Boston, WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Burlington, Vt., WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H., and WMTW-TV in Portland, Maine. Grimes doesn’t want them to lose their local flavor. But he does want to work together on certain stories with regional appeal. Recent examples included real-time coverage of the Boston Marathon, sending WCVB’s helicopter to Vermont to shoot the flooding there, and sharing half-hour interviews with presidential candidates at WMUR. Grimes also wants to cultivate talent for WCVB, whose market is by far the largest of the four.
Like other TV executives, Grimes faces the challenge of a changing audience, with an increasing number of viewers preferring phones over broadcast TV. (Toward that end, Hearst supports a streaming platform, called Very Local, for WCVB and many of its other stations.) That said, Grimes is not convinced that the phone will end up reigning supreme.
“I think everybody is trying to figure out where this is going to land,” Grimes said. “Where are we going to consume media at the end of the day? ... I think those who are committed to being local storytellers have a big, bright future.”
O’Connell joins MassDevelopment board
Dan O’Connell is getting back into the economic development game.
A former economic development secretary in governor Deval Patrick’s administration, O’Connell spent much of his post-government life working with the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership and the Boston 2024 Olympics bid. Lately, he’s been championing a proposed transfer tax that would generate funds from big-ticket real estate sales for affordable housing on Martha’s Vineyard, where he lives.
Now he will put that advocacy aside as he returns to state government, at least on a volunteer basis. Governor Maura Healey has appointed O’Connell to the board of MassDevelopment, the quasi-public economic agency chaired by Yvonne Hao, Healey’s economic development secretary. O’Connell was among the former secretaries who chatted with Hao about her new job earlier in the year. (Others included Ranch Kimball, Greg Bialecki, Jay Ash, and Mike Kennealy.) Then O’Connell got a call from Hao about filling one of the unpaid seats on the MassDevelopment board. Healey followed through by meeting with O’Connell last month.
“It’s going to be an exciting time for economic development and job creation in the commonwealth,” said O’Connell, who notes he’s but one of 11 board members at the authority. “I’m looking forward to being a small part of it.”
A new role for Ramapriya
Someone grab Jeevan Ramapriya a “Team Massachusetts” baseball cap.
He’s the newest member of Governor Maura Healey’s economic development team: Healey just named him executive director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment.
He started on July 31, in the state offices on Blackstone Street, in the shadow of the One Congress tower where his previous employer, State Street Corp., is moving.
Ramapriya, a Billerica native who now lives in Boston, doesn’t seem to mind the fact he won’t get to enjoy State Street’s fancy offices next door. After 11 years in government relations at the financial services giant, it was time to try something new.
The two-person MOITI office coordinates and cheerleads foreign investments in Massachusetts, in part by helping companies in other countries as they look to expand here.
“I want to be able to say I’ve been able to create jobs in the commonwealth,” Ramapriya added. “That doesn’t just include Boston. That includes places like Worcester, Springfield — or even Billerica. Maybe not ‘even Billerica.’ Absolutely Billerica.”
Keane aims to get the word out about MassArt
Karen Keane, the longtime head of the Skinner auction house, has been putting her auctioneering skills to use for Massachusetts College of Art and Design for years, helping to sell off various pieces of art once a year to raise money for the Boston college.
But now Keane’s contribution to MassArt is stepping up a notch or two, as the college celebrates its 150th year. Keane became the board chair in July, and Daren Bascome, founder of the marketing firm Proverb, became vice chair. Keane will have to balance her volunteer work at MassArt with her day job at London-based auction house Bonhams Skinner. (Bonhams acquired Skinner, a smaller auction business in Boston and Marlborough, last year from Keane and her business partner, Stephen Fletcher.)
Among her goals as chair of MassArt’s trustees: getting the word out about the college’s legacy as the country’s only publicly funded standalone art college. State officials created the college in the 1870s to teach fine art, in large part to train people to come up with designs for the textile mills across the state.
“There’s a big story to tell,” Keane said. “I think there’s a lot of people who don’t know the history of the school and [should] know about it. ... We need to do fund-raising and to get the word out to take us to the next 150 years.”
No beach days for Eversource CFO
The Vineyard might be calling. But Eversource chief financial officer John Moreira might not be answering.
In an earnings call this month, the utility’s chief executive Joe Nolan again had little news to share about the oft-delayed deal to sell Eversource’s stake in three offshore wind projects. The deal, he promised, was at the proverbial “one yard line.” It’s not the first time Nolan has conceded the sale was taking longer than expected; in May, company officials said a deal would be done by the end of June.
Now it’s August, and there’s still no word. Nolan indicated that part of the complexity comes from the fact it’s selling off its half of a joint venture, meaning another company — Danish energy company Ørsted, Eversource’s joint venture partner in the offshore wind business — has to sign off on key details as well. Eversource is now “truly near the goal line,” Nolan said, with the due diligence review “substantially completed.” The likely buyer remains a mystery.
“We remain focused on completing this transaction to the point we’re not going to let John Moreira take any summer vacation until he has it all taken care of,” Nolan reassured investors on the earnings call.
Sure, Nolan might have been kidding around. Then again, it seems near certain that Moreira is spending more time at Eversource HQ in the Prudential Tower than at the beach this August.