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Veolia sticks to plan to move headquarters to Boston

Brian Clarke, the new chief executive of Veolia’s North American operations.
Brian Clarke, the new chief executive of Veolia’s North American operations.Chris Morris for The Boston Globe

One of the first things Brian Clarke did as the new chief executive of Veolia’s North American operations was to reassure employees: No, he told them, the company would not be moving the HQ back to Chicago.

Clarke’s family primarily still lives in the Chicago area, and he has been commuting back and forth since he took the top job in September.

Former CEO Bill DiCroce had unveiled plans to move the headquarters more than three years ago to his home state of Massachusetts (specifically, to the tower at 53 State St. in Boston). The primary goal at the time was to find the best talent. That selling point hasn’t changed, particularly for the engineering and financial fields.

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“Just because I happen to accidentally have to commute a bit doesn’t mean everybody else has to pick up and make life-changing decisions,” Clarke says.

Clarke has been with Veolia, a giant French company that handles energy and water services as well as hazardous waste disposal, since 1999 and most recently oversaw its M&A activity. He landed the top job after Veolia decided in July to sell its district energy business to Antin Infrastructure Partners for $1.25 billion. DiCroce will lead the newly divested business, which includes steam, heat, chilled water, and electricity production plants in 10 cities. (They include steam plants in Kendall Square and on Kneeland Street in Boston, and the pipes that connect them.)

About 400 people will join DiCroce in the district-energy business under the new owners. After the deal closes later this fall, Veolia will employ more than 7,000 employees in North America, including at least 140 at the Boston headquarters.

Clarke is hoping to use some of the deal proceeds to invest in more hazardous waste services businesses. He also wants to get more involved in Boston’s business community.

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DiCroce isn’t going anywhere, either. After the deal closes, Boston will have another new North American headquarters, for the steam-plant business that DiCroce will run.

“Boston’s a great town for talent,” Clarke says. “It’s an attractive location for young people. I don’t know if you could find a better town in America to go find them than here.”

College honors banker

Last week, Regis College made a big reveal: The Marshall M. Sloane School of Business and Communication.

Sloane, the founder of Century Bank who died in April at the age of 92, was not an alumnus. And while he was a generous donor, that’s not why Regis renamed a school for him.

It’s because Sloane was the Catholic university’s longtime banker who stuck by the Weston institution in good times and bad.

And things were really bad two decades ago when Regis, then a women’s college, was on the verge of closing after years of losing students and money. But Sloane and Century Bank extended a much-needed loan.

“Century Bank stepped up to the plate when others did not,” Regis College president Antoinette Hays said. “He stuck with us. He was more than just our banker. He was our true friend.”

Since then, Regis, with close to 3,000 students, has charted a remarkable turnaround, going co-ed and remaking itself as a leader in health sciences and nursing. Recently, Regis has embarked on a $75 million expansion and upgrade of its campus — also with the help of Century Bank.

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“He was so proud of how we turned the place around,” Hays said.

Sloane received an honorary degree in 2014 and the university’s highest honor, the Shining Example Award, in 2017 for a lifetime of philanthropic work throughout Greater Boston.

“This man needs to be remembered,” Hays said. “He was a man who was a role model for us in the way he lived his life and the way he gave back to the community.”

GateHouse loses chief

After turning GateHouse into one of the biggest newspaper chains in the country, it’s time for longtime Massachusetts media executive Kirk Davis to turn the page.

Mike Reed, chief executive of GateHouse parent New Media Investment Group, announced last week that Davis, Reed’s longtime No. 2, will leave the company after it merges with Gannett. The deal is expected to close shortly after shareholders of both companies vote Nov. 14.

Davis says he will stay through the deal’s closing, longer if necessary. He says he had an option to stay with the combined company but decided to leave and try something new.

Davis has been a key player in the Gannett merger discussions. However, questions about his longtime tenure arose when the merger was announced in August. (Technically, New Media is acquiring Gannett and keeping Gannett’s name.) That’s because Gannett announced the merger on the same day it unveiled a new chief executive, Paul Bascobert, who would run the company’s operating subsidiary post-merger. That meant Bascobert would essentially take over the job that Davis has now at GateHouse/New Media.

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Davis says he’s looking for a new challenge, one that might get him closer to employees and their work.

“Ideally, I’ll land a role where I can support journalism and storytelling in a more dedicated way,” he says. “How we fund journalism in America weighs on my mind every day. So I’m thinking about ‘public’ media and nonprofit ventures. Helping families in media that don’t want to sell but are fearful of succumbing to financial challenges has appeal, too.”

Firm names co-leaders

Law firm Nixon Peabody’s Boston office is seeing changes at the top.

Kathleen Ceglarksi Burns and Christopher Froeb have been named co-managing partners of the law firm’s Boston office, where 300 people work, including 140 attorneys. Burns is a partner in the litigation department, while Froeb is a real estate lawyer.

“In general, I do not favor co-leads, [but] with the right personalities and given the demands of the position, it makes sense,” chief executive Andrew Glincher says. “This is one of those examples.”

They take over for Ruth Silman, who led the office for three years and orchestrated its move from 100 Summer to 53 State St.

Silman will remain focused on her environmental and land-use law work at the firm.

Glincher also recently hired Danielle Wuschke Paige to be chief marketing and growth officer, taking over for Jose Cunningham. She’s a veteran PR pro but new to the legal industry. Glincher says he wanted someone from outside the industry for that job to provide a fresh perspective.

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Ad executive chairs gala

Kelly Fredrickson of MullenLowe has been pretty busy. The president of Boston’s winningest ad agency seems to keep landing new clients, and she is orchestrating a headquarters move from downtown to the Seaport.

Here’s one more responsibility for her: chairing the annual fund-raising gala for anti-poverty charity Action for Boston Community Development. The event takes place Friday at the Marriott Copley Place hotel and features actress/singer Audra McDonald as the main performer. At least 1,000 people are expected to attend; tickets are still available.

Former colleague Lee Phenner, who is now head of communications at ABCD, asked Fredrickson over the summer whether she would chair the event. (The two worked together at ad agency Hill Holliday.)

“MullenLowe was supportive of me taking on this honor and responsibility,” Fredrickson says. “Most of our clients, my friends and family have also committed to sponsoring and attending the ‘Heroes Gala.’ It’s my first time chairing an event like this, [but] the team at ABCD made it easy because the work they do is so important.”


Can’t keep a secret? Tell us. E-mail Bold Types at jon.chesto@globe.com.