Chamber’s longtime chief Paul Guzzi is ready to move on
It has been a long goodbye for Paul Guzzi, but the longtime president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is really leaving.
His last day is Tuesday, and in fact, he’s already packed.
“I happen to be a man without an office,” said Guzzi, 73, who has been squatting in a conference room at the chamber’s headquarters.
After 19 years at the helm, Guzzi cleared out of his office last week so it can be spruced up for the new guy, Jim Rooney, who is coming over after serving as executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.
Guzzi wanted to bring along his mahogany desk — a gift to the chamber from the Federal Reserve Bank decades ago — but it was too big to move to his new office at the Citi Performing Arts Center.
That’s where Guzzi plans to spend his retirement, working as the nonprofit’s board chairman.
Before joining the chamber, Guzzi worked for Wang Laboratories and helped broker the company’s $6 million contribution to restore what is now the Citi Wang Theatre.
It was Dr. An Wang who gave Guzzi the chance to work in the private sector after being in politics.
“It’s deeply personal,” Guzzi said of his new gig. “I feel that I’m kind of giving back in a sense to him and to his family.”
But first, Guzzi will take a rare summer off and head to his rustic cabin in Maine. He will play with his grandkids, catch up on reading, and train his year-old labradoodle, Alie. “She is not particularly obedient,” Guzzi said. “If I don’t come back with the dog trained, my wife will be upset.”
Kraft takes Patriots hall of famers to Israel
The Patriots have a history of finding football players in unlikely places: the wrestling mat, Germany, even the tuba section.
Perhaps Jerusalem is next.
Owner Robert Kraft recently led a contingent of 19 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on a weeklong trip to Israel, where a stadium bearing his name has hosted Israeli Football League games since 2005. Kraft is the league’s primary sponsor.
Kraft and the hall of famers, including the Patriots greats John Hannah and Andre Tippett, met with IFL players and watched Israel’s national team scrimmage. But the visit was more of a cultural exchange than a scouting trip.
“I don’t think there’s a better place that you can bring people, no matter what their faith might be,” Kraft said in a prepared statement. “They come here and their lives are changed.”
Even if he didn’t find the next Tom Brady on the roster of the Judean Rebels, Kraft may have discovered something else that could help his team in New England. The excursion featured stops at some of Israel’s most promising technology companies, including Elminda Ltd., maker of a visual assessment tool for brain trauma.
A new face — and a key player — at the Boston Foundation
Here’s a name that Boston’s arts-related nonprofits will soon want to have on speed dial: Allyson Esposito.
She’s the Boston Foundation’s new director of arts and culture, which means she’ll play a key role in deciding which local organizations should receive funding; last year, it distributed about $2 million to the local arts community.
Esposito is currently director of cultural grantmaking for the City of Chicago, where she was a colleague of Julie Burros, the City of Boston’s new arts chief.
A dancer, Esposito has also worked
for a family foundation and been executive director of a nonprofit dance company, “so she understands not only the philanthropic and grantmaking requirements, but she’s also an artist who understands what it takes to run a nonprofit organization,” said Boston Foundation vice president Travis McCready.
Esposito begins her new gig in August, the foundation said.
It’s a Shark! It’s a Ninja! It’s Shark Ninja!
You may have heard of Shark vacuum cleaners or Ninja blenders. But does Euro-Pro ring a bell? Probably not.
That’s exactly why Mark Barrocas, Euro-Pro’s president, and Mark Rosenzweig, the company’s chief executive and majority shareholder, are embarking on a big change at their company.
Euro-Pro will be gone by sometime in mid-July, replaced with a name that’s an amalgam of the firm’s two major brands: Shark Ninja.
Euro-Pro has grown quickly in relative secrecy, working out of its home base in Newton’s Wells Avenue office park. The household products company had but a handful of employees in 2003, when Rosenzweig moved the operation to Massachusetts from Montreal.
Five years later, the leadership reshaped Euro-Pro’s product lineup, ditching the cheap stuff for higher-end vacuums and blenders with innovative features, the kind that would help build brand loyalty.
That shift entailed bringing most of the design work in-house, the start of an upward trajectory.
The company employs more than 400 people at its offices in Newton and Needham, out of a 900-person workforce. (That larger number includes about 350 people in China.) Barrocas said he expects the Boston-area number to grow to 550 by the end of next year.
To keep up, Euro-Pro plans to consolidate its local offices in one 170,000-square-foot location in a Normandy Real Estate Partners-owned building in Needham at the end of 2016. That would be much bigger than the 110,000 square feet that Euro-Pro occupies today.
Barrocas said the company has the revenue to match its job growth — it reaped about $1.6 billion in sales in its last fiscal year, a roughly 20 percent increase from the year before.
The company has reached a critical mass, a point in which it seems unwise to continue under a cryptic name, particularly when it comes to getting attention in search engines and on social media. (Euro-Pro refers to an earlier line of ironing products that’s now discontinued.) Steve Conine and Niraj Shah came to a similar epiphany before changing the name of their Boston-based online retailer CSN Stores to Wayfair in 2011.
“We’re number one in market share in many of the categories we participate in,” Barrocas said. “We’re developing what we think are incredibly innovative products. This [name] change will really give us the opportunity to tell our story.”