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Baker fills two top administration posts

Governor-elect Charlie Baker has asked Northeastern University’s chief operating officer to serve as his top aide, the Baker transition team confirmed Monday afternoon.

Steven Kadish.Brooks Canaday/Northeastern Univ/Northeastern Univ

Steven Kadish, who like Baker has worked at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and in the state’s health and human services bureaucracy, is expected to take on his new duties as Baker’s chief of staff as soon as Tuesday.

“I am honored to serve Governor-elect Baker as well as the people of the Massachusetts and I look forward to carrying out the Governor-elect’s ambitious vision for a prosperous, thriving Commonwealth,” Kadish said in a statement released by the transition team.


“Matching the next governor’s enthusiasm, experience and drive will not be easy, but as the transition process moves forward, I know Baker’s team will be ready to hit the ground running in January,’’ Kadish said in the statement.

At Northeastern, Kadish is also a senior vice president and has overseen the facilities, human resources, and information services departments. Prior to Northeastern, Kadish was executive vice president and chief of financial officer at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Baker has said he plans to mine the extensive networks he has constructed over decades in Massachusetts public life as he begins staffing his administration.

His first two Cabinet picks, with Chelsea city manager Jay Ash as housing and economic development chief and state representative Matthew Beaton as the energy and environmental affairs secretary, have earned warm reviews. Ash is a Democrat; Beaton, a Republican.

In Kadish, Baker is looking past the public sector for a top aide with long experience in education and health care. Kadish was also director of global health equity at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Baker announced his pick of Beaton, a Shrewsbury state representative and and Worcester Polytechnic Institute graduate, to lead the Energy and Environmental Affairs secretariat earlier on Monday.


In a statement, Baker said that Beaton “has the right experience to carry out our administration’s green energy initiatives and to protect the Commonwealth’s open spaces.’’

Beaton, a Republican, has a degree in biotechnology from WPI and a masters in energy and environmental analysis from Boston University, according to the Baker transition office. Beaton has operated his own small green building business, according to the transition office.

“Despite the challenges, great opportunity exists to improve the quality of our environment, combat the threats of a changing climate and promote local, sustainable agriculture throughout the Commonwealth,” Beaton said in a prepared statement.

Matthew Beaton (center) appeared with Charlie Baker at a campaign stop.Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe

He also said that “as an avid sportsman, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to promote the preservation and accessibility of our precious natural resources for the benefit of every citizen of this great Commonwealth.”

Baker said in a statement that he believes his administration will be able to improve the state’s environment.

“Through greater efficiency and a diversified approach, we can bring down the cost of energy and reduce our carbon footprint,’’ Baker said in the statement. “Representative Beaton’s leadership will be vital to accomplish these ambitious goals and all of the office’s charges.”

In a statement, Baker’s selection of Beaton was congratulated by the New England Council on Clean Energy, a nonprofit group, which noted that the alternative energy industry has grown by 47 percent during the past four years.

“The policies set by the new administration and legislature are crucial to expanding the clean energy sector in Massachusetts, which delivers significant economic, energy and environmental benefits to the Commonwealth’s citizens, businesses and industry,” Peter Rothstein, NECEC president, said in a statement.


He added, “we look forward to collaborating with Secretary-designate Beaton and Governor-Elect Baker to accelerate the transition to a clean energy system that has been shown to be an engine for economic growth.’’

Kirsten Hughes, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, applauded Beaton’s selection, calling Beaton “a terrific addition’’ to the forthcoming Baker administration.

“Massachusetts is fortunate that he will continue his public service in this way,’’ Hughes said in the statement, adding that she expects a Republican to succeed Beaton in the 11th Worcester district.

Beaton is expected to resign his House seat to join the administration.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports. John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.