Gloria Larson Named Interim Executive Director of Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
MCCA Board member Sheena Collier named Search Committee Chair charged with finding permanent Executive Director
The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) today announced that the MCCA Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve Gloria Cordes Larson to serve as interim executive director. Larson, a respected business leader, lawyer, public policy expert, and former president of Bentley University, will fulfill the duties and responsibilities of managing all MCCA operations and leadership until a permanent executive director is named. She will start at the MCCA in January.
Larson returns to the MCCA after serving as chair of the Board for 12 years, during which time she oversaw the construction and opening of the $850 million Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC).
“Gloria is an enthusiastic, inclusive, and strong organizational leader who steps into this role with deep executive and institutional experience,” said Governor Maura Healey. “I’m grateful for her commitment to service to the MCCA and Massachusetts, and I am confident in her leadership to steer an organization critical to our economy and our communities.”
As interim executive director, Larson will be responsible for the daily management of the authority. She will work closely with MCCA senior management and the Board of Directors to ensure a seamless transition.
“As we work toward a more equitable and welcoming future for the MCCA, it’s an honor for me to welcome Gloria back to the MCCA,” said Emme Handy, MCCA Board Chairwoman. “I look forward to working closely with her to provide a strong foundation as we seek a permanent executive director.”
Larson served in various capacities in the Deval Patrick administration, including leading the governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. Her time as MCCA board chair also overlapped Governor Patrick’s time in office.
“Gloria is an excellent choice. Wise, effective and values-driven, she’ll bring steady leadership to the MCCA in the months ahead. We should all take comfort knowing she’s at the helm,” said former Governor Deval Patrick.
“It’s an honor to answer the call to once again serve such a critical economic and cultural engine for the Commonwealth,” said Gloria Cordes Larson. “I’m grateful to have the confidence of Governor Healey and the board, and am eager to support their vision, leverage my expertise with the Authority, and help steer the ship through this critical time.”
Larson brings to the MCCA decades of business leadership, public and private institutional experience, and a tireless commitment to women’s equity in the workplace. Larson most recently served a one-year term as President in Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. From 2007 until 2018, Larson served as the first female President of Bentley University, located in Waltham, MA. During her tenure as President, Bentley earned university status, was named a Top 10 undergraduate business school by Bloomberg Businessweek, and launched the Gloria Larson Center for Women and Business (CWB) with a stated mission to advance women in the organizational world.
Before joining Bentley, Larson had a wide-ranging career in law, public policy and business. She served as a partner and Co-chair of the Government Strategies Group at Boston-based law firm Foley Hoag, LLP; as Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and later as Secretary of Economic Affairs, under Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld; and as Deputy Director of Consumer Protection for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington.
Larson currently serves on the board of Unum Group, as well as reacHIRE, a private company devoted to supporting women in the workplace. She also is a member of the boards of several national and regional non-profit organizations, including NACD New England (emeritus member), McLean Hospital, the MA Conference for Women, and the Executive Committee of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and since 2021, the Board of Regents of UMass Global, a non-profit affiliate of UMass.
Board Chair Handy also named Board Member Sheena Collier, CEO of Boston While Black and The Collier Connection, search committee chair. Collier will lead the process to appoint the MCCA’s next permanent executive director.
“The MCCA is at a critical transition period, and I look forward to leading a thorough and transparent search process to find the next executive director,” said Sheena Collier.
The MCCA Board of Directors will share more information on the search at the January 2024 board meeting.