Bold Types

Partners HealthCare says its chief of staff will depart

Peter Brown is leaving Partners HealthCare to enter the consulting world.
Peter Brown is leaving Partners HealthCare to enter the consulting world.Chris Morris

The turnover on the 11th floor of the Prudential Center continues. After Partners HealthCare chief executive Dr. Gary Gottlieb left in March, his top aide is also planning an exit.

Peter Brown, chief of staff at Partners since 2010, leaves Thursday to enter the consulting world. He’s launching Peter Brown Communications, a firm that will focus on helping organizations “tell their stories,” Brown says, both to the public and to their own employees.

Brown, 57, who previously ran the news department at WBZ-TV, joined Partners 11 years ago, working closely with Gottlieb throughout that time. He headed communications at Brigham and Women’s Hospital while Gottlieb was president. When Gottlieb was promoted to the top job at Partners, Brigham’s parent com-pany, Brown moved up, too.


It isn’t as though Partners is running out of stories to tell. In the face of pressure from a judge, the attorney general, and the public, the health care giant dropped a bid this year to take over South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. Partners’ new chief, Dr. David Torchiana, has vowed to “pause” on Partners’ expansion plans as he develops his own strategy for the organization.

But Brown said this is the right time for him to leave.

“I never thought I’d be contemplating a third career,” said Brown. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

While he sets up his new office, Deborah Colton, an executive at the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, will become Partners’ new chief of staff.


John ‘Houdini’ Fish cancels again

For one of the most ubiquitous members of Boston’s business community, John Fish sure knows how to pull off a disappearing act.

Earlier this month, the Suffolk Construction chief suddenly cancelled an appearance at the Massachusetts Building Congress, where he was supposed to talk about the plans to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics here. Boston 2024 chief executive Rich Davey and architect David Manfredi went instead.


Now, it looks like Davey will be taking Fish’s place again. Fish was supposed to deliver the keynote speech at a Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce event on May 6. But chamber president Greg Reibman said Fish told him on Friday by e-mail that he wasn’t going to make it because of a scheduling conflict.

Reibman tried to be diplomatic when we asked him about the abrupt change. Fish’s move didn’t come as a complete surprise: Reibman knew about the earlier cancellation and he has seen the reports that Boston 2024 wants Fish, its chairman, to take a less public role, part of its reaction to disappointing poll numbers and criticism about bringing the Games here.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not going to be able to make it,” Reibman said, “but we’re grateful that Rich Davey will be there to talk to our members.”


Predicting health code violations, one Yelp review at a time

Imagine if city inspectors could know in advance which restaurants are likely to have food safety violations and then swoop in and correct those problems before customers’ health is jeopardized.

That’s the dream outcome of the latest project by DrivenData, a Boston startup that helps nonprofits and government agencies use data science to address social problems.

It’s running an online contest that invites anyone with the technical know-how to crunch two data sets — city of Boston food violation inspection reports and Yelp restaurant reviews — as a means of predicting where future hygiene violations might occur.


Later, once new city inspection data are available, contestants will learn whose predictions came true. The best guesser will win $3,000, and two runners-up will receive $1,000 apiece.

“If food inspectors know where the concerns might be as reviews get posted in real time, then they can get to problems faster and go where they’re most needed,” said Harvard alum Isaac Slavitt, who cofounded DrivenData with fellow alum Peter Bull and Harvard Business School student Greg Lipstein.

The company is supported by the Harvard Innovation Lab’s Venture Incubation Program and the Rock Accelerator Program at HBS.

“This shows cities what can happen when they open up the data they have,” Slavitt added, “and it shows data scientists what sorts of things they might be able to help the public sector with.”


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