For Berkshire Bank, it’s time for some big-city bustle
Michael Daly is trading a lifetime in the Berkshires for the bustle of the big city.
The Berkshire Hills Bancorp CEO is moving his company’s headquarters from Pittsfield to Boston’s financial district by early 2018. The bank, which does business as Berkshire Bank, announced last week that it had found the right spot: 10,000-plus square feet in the 60 State St. tower. Nearly all of the bank’s 370 employees in Pittsfield are staying out west, though.
Not Daly (right). He says he has bought a house in Andover and plans to work out of the Boston headquarters. One of his top lieutenants, bank president Richard Marotta, will be joining him. Another, chief operating officer Sean Gray, will stay in Pittsfield for now.
Daly’s familiar with Boston’s streets. He has been working out of a residential condo at Rowes Wharf for at least the past two years. He said he’s looking forward to getting more involved with the city’s banking industry, as well as its broader business community.
“That’s important,” Daly says. “If you’re going to be headquartered in Boston, you’ve got to be part of the community.”
Daly says he had thought about opening a headquarters in Boston for years, as Berkshire Bank grew. He opened its first branch in the city, on Congress Street, in February. But it was Daly’s $200 million-plus deal to buy Commerce Bank that prompted him to make the move.
When the Commerce acquisition closes this month, Berkshire will have roughly $12 billion in assets. That will make it the largest Massachusetts-based retail bank. Commerce brings with it three branches in Boston, vestiges of the old Mercantile Bank & Trust, which Commerce acquired in 2012.
Gray says a Boston headquarters will help Berkshire recruit from the area. Last week, the bank announced the addition of three people to its Greater Boston management team: regional president Paul Kelly and senior vice presidents Doug MacLean and Susan Yahn DiPinto.
“It gives us credibility in recruitment for top talent,” Gray says of the Boston office. “If you’re the largest bank with a headquarters in Massachusetts, Boston makes very good sense.”
— JON CHESTO
GE’s choppers? No longer a priority
Forget about the helipad. Soon, General Electric executives may have to settle for a taxi stand.
The company has confirmed that it is canceling its perk of making company cars available to some 700 senior executives as part of new CEO John Flannery’s broad cost-cutting. GE will be letting the leases on those cars expire within the next year.
Flannery has already decided to sell GE’s corporate jets, which are based at Hanscom Field in Bedford. And he’s delaying completion of the company’s new Fort Point headquarters by two years, essentially breaking the $200 million project into two phases.
Flannery rose to the CEO job in the summer, taking over for Jeff Immelt, at a time when the management team is under intense pressure to boost profits and the company’s lackluster stock price. GE investor Trian Fund Management had reached an agreement with Immelt in March to trim some $2 billion from the books by the end of 2018. Flannery might go further, when he unveils the full extent of his cost-cutting plan in November.
On Monday, GE announced that it had given Trian’s chief investment officer, Ed Garden, a seat on its board, replacing Robert Lane, who is leaving after 12 years. That followed news after the market closed on Friday that chief financial officer Jeff Bornstein will be replaced by Jamie Miller, who has been running GE’s transportation business.
State and city officials promised to help GE build a helipad when they persuaded the company to move its headquarters from Connecticut last year. It’s probably safe to say that helipad is flying pretty low on the priority list now. — JON CHESTO