Dave Mackey has been friends with Lon Povich, Governor Charlie Baker’s former chief legal counsel, since they worked together as young associates at Goodwin Procter in the mid-1980s.
Now, they get to be colleagues at the same firm again. Povich (below) joined Anderson & Kreiger last week. Mackey, the Boston firm’s managing partner, pitched the job to Povich soon after he left the governor’s office in March.
During the interview process, Povich met nearly all of the 35-plus lawyers at the firm. “He just seemed like a really good match, all the way around,” Mackey says. “Everybody thought what a great colleague this guy would be.”
Povich says he left the governor’s office without a job waiting for several reasons. He wanted to focus completely on his role in Baker’s office, for one. And then there was the disclosure requirement, if inquiries got serious.
“Frankly, I had the luxury of not wanting to create the appearances of a lot of conflicts,” Povich says. “It’s not worth it.”
As Baker’s chief legal counsel, Povich oversaw the selection and confirmation of 130 judges, including five justices on the Supreme Judicial Court. He also advised on policy initiatives, including the new regulations for ride-hailing companies such as Uber and short-term rental companies such as Airbnb.
Povich (yes, he’s a cousin of TV host Maury Povich) enjoyed a varied legal career before joining the Baker administration at the start of the governor’s first term in 2015. Povich’s private-sector roles included general counsel for BJ’s Wholesale Club and Boston Consulting Group. He also served as a federal prosecutor in the US attorney’s office in Boston, where he specialized in cases involving complex financial crimes.
BJ’s chair Laura Sen, who worked closely with Povich when she was the chief executive, says Povich is a diligent, hard worker who took a different approach from many in-house counsels. Rather than playing the role of the killjoy, Povich always tried to work with the ideas that came his way.
“Lon created the brand for the legal department, that it would be the ‘yes lawyers,’ ” Sen says. “The lawyers who try to say ‘yes’ rather than try to say ‘no.’ I thought that was nothing short of brilliant.”
Povich, by the way, is one of several current and former top aides to the Republican governor who are registered Democrats. He didn’t always agree with Baker, but he knew who was boss. “If we ever disagreed, I could do the math,” Povich says. “Charlie Baker got one million votes, and I got one.” — JON CHESTO
Hitting the jackpot
The Massachusetts restaurant industry just landed a windfall: $2 million to promote it in the new state budget.
The money will come from newfound casino tax revenue.
Now, how to spend it? Language in the budget created an 11-member commission charged with finding ways to increase visits to restaurants and to identify challenges in the industry and potential solutions. Recommendations are due by Jan. 31.
House Speaker Bob DeLeo, who championed the $2 million allocation, has named his three picks for the task force: Bob Luz, the chief executive of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association; Tiffani Faison, chef and owner of Boston-area restaurants Orfano and Tiger Mama; and Rebecca Roth Gullo, president of a restaurant group that includes The Gallows, Banyan Bar & Refuge, and Blackbird Doughnuts.
The legislation allows Senate President Karen Spilka to appoint three members as well. Her only appointee thus far is Senator Julian Cyr, whose parents were longtime proprietors of the former Adrian’s Restaurant in Truro.
By law, the commission includes the House and Senate chairs of the Legislature’s tourism committee – Representative Paul McMurtry and Senator Edward Kennedy – and the executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, Keiko Matsudo Orrall. The final two panel members are picked by Senate minority leader Bruce Tarr and House minority leader Brad Jones. Tarr has named Kathi Turner of Turner’s Seafood and Jones has chosen Pat Lee of the Horseshoe Grille in North Reading. — JON CHESTO
New roles at St. Jude
Judy Habib and Paul Ayoub are deeply involved in Boston’s business community. But their hearts are also in another city, 1,400 miles away. Since 1994, the two childhood friends have served on the boards of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC, the fund-raising organization for St. Jude. Now both have taken on new roles. Habib, chief executive of marketing firm KHJ, is now chair of the ALSAC board and Ayoub, a partner at law firm Nutter McClennen & Fish, has become vice chair of St. Jude’s board. Ayoub and Habib are of Lebanese and Syrian descent. They grew up in West Roxbury at a time when raising money for St. Jude was a major cause for that immigrant group. St. Jude founder, comedian/actor Danny Thomas, was a son of Lebanese immigrants.
The hospital is in Memphis, but its research has global implications, with its focus on defeating childhood cancer and other potentially fatal diseases for kids.
“From our parents, we learned the importance of giving back and caring,” Ayoub says. “My parents never asked us or pushed us [to volunteer for St. Jude]. We just watched them.” — JON CHESTO
UMass fills post
Joseph Cooper isn’t a New Balance employee but the shoe company is now paying his salary. Cooper has been named the inaugural J. Keith Motley Endowed Chair for Sports Leadership and Administration at UMass Boston, a job funded by a $5 million gift that New Balance announced a year ago. Cooper joins UMass from UConn, where he taught for six years, specializing in sports management and gender and race in athletics.
“To be part of something so innovative, so pioneering, was very enticing,” Cooper says. “It will be a game changer, centered on championing diversity, inclusion, and equity in the . . . industry.”
An advisory board will help guide the program’s creation. This fall semester students are signing up for the first time to earn a bachelor’s degree in sports leadership and administration. A number of sports legends serve on the board, including former track star Edwin Moses, former Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett, and former Celtics forward Tom “Satch” Sanders.
Jim Davis, chairman and owner of New Balance, says Cooper will bring passion and expertise to the role. “We look forward to (preparing) UMass Boston students for the many exciting career opportunities [that exist] in the sports industry.” — JON CHESTO