NEC Announces 2020 New Englanders of the Year

Awards to be Presented During October 26 Virtual Annual Celebration

BOSTON (August 25, 2020) – The New England Council, the nation’s oldest regional business organization, will present its prestigious “New Englander of the Year” awards during its virtual 2020 Annual Celebration on October 26, 2020.  This year’s recipients are Marianne Harrison, President & CEO of John Hancock; Udit Batra, President & CEO of Waters Corporation; life sciences industry leader MilliporeSigma; Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D., Founder & Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA-2); and Samantha Power, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and. More about the honorees.

The Council traditionally presents the New Englander of the Year Awards each fall at its Annual Dinner in Boston, an event that has drawn over 1,700 guests from throughout the region in recent years.  Because of the COVID-19 global public health crisis, the Council will instead present the awards during a virtual program that will be streamed to registered guests at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 26, and made available online following the program.

The 2020 Annual Celebration co-chairs are Pamela Everhart, Senior Vice President, Regional Public Affairs and Community Relations at Fidelity Investments and Amy Latimer, President of the TD Garden.

“This year’s honorees have each made valuable and meaningful contributions to addressing some of the biggest challenges facing our region and our nation in 2020,” said James T. Brett, President and CEO of the New England Council.  “From combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting our region’s and our nation’s recovery from the resulting economic downturn; to safeguarding human rights across the country and around the world; to fighting for foster diversity, inclusion, and equality in our communities and workplaces, each of these honorees has worked tirelessly to make New England a better place to live, work, and thrive.  We are proud to call them New Englanders and look forward to celebrating their achievements with our members this fall.”

The “New Englander of the Year” awards are presented each year by The New England Council and honor residents or natives of the New England states for their commitment and contributions in their fields of work, as well as their leadership and impact on the New England region’s quality of life and economy.  First presented in 1964, over the years the award has been presented to U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz; U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg; Senators Ted Kennedy, Jack Reed, Jeanne Shaheen, Kelly Ayotte, Susan Collins and John Kerry; Congressmen Richard Neal, Ed Markey, John Larson, and Barney Frank; and business leaders such as Abigail Johnson of Fidelity Investments, Robert Reynolds of Putnam Investments, Anne Finucane of Bank of America and many other respected government, business, and non-profit leaders.

The New England Council’s Board of Directors selected this year’s honorees based on their commitment to the community, distinguished careers and countless contributions to the region and the nation:

Marianne Harrison, President & CEO, John Hancock – Marianne Harrison is the President & CEO of John Hancock, the U.S. division of Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corporation and one of the largest life insurers and fastest growing asset managers in the U.S. She oversees all aspects of John Hancock’s operations, including providing a range of financial products to some 10 million Americans and managing close to $500 billion in assets. Prior to assuming her current role, Ms. Harrison served as president and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Canada, the company’s Canadian division. As John Hancock’s first female CEO, she has made diversity of all types a priority at the company, and has worked to support and advance women in the predominantly-male financial services industry. Learn more.

Udit Batra, Ph.D., President & CEO Waters Corporation; former CEO, MilliporeSigma – Udit Batra is the President and CEO of Waters Corporation (NYSE: WAT), a leading specialty measurement company with operations in 35 countries and a long track record of outstanding innovation. With over two decades of global leadership experience in healthcare, Dr. Batra has led several transformations, built strong teams and has become a meaningful contributor to the prosperity and health of New England. Most recently, Dr. Batra led the formation of MilliporeSigma, the Life Science Business of Germany’s Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, with the largest merger in the Life Science tools industry in 2015. During that time, Dr. Batra and his team, oversaw a strategic and operational transformation of the business that drove sales growth and margin development, that remain the highest amongst integrated peers. He has championed science education especially for low-income students, developed and promoted women’s leadership, and has been a strong advocate for increasing diversity across the organizations he has led. Dr. Batra is the Chairman of the Massachusetts High Tech Council and is a member of the Board at both the Boston Chamber of Commerce and MassBio. Learn more.

MilliporeSigma – MilliporeSigma is the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a top three player in the global life sciences industry. The $8.1 billion Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada.  MilliporeSigma employs some 22,000 employees worldwide, including approximately 2500 employees in the New England region. With a life science center in Burlington, MA, a significant site in Jaffrey, NH,and 59 manufacturing sites worldwide, the company has a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services.  Throughout 2020, MilliporeSigma has played a vital role in the response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, providing critical raw materials, technologies, and services to support the development of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, including for more than 35 testing solutions, nearly 50 different vaccines, and 20 monoclonal antibody, plasma products and antivirals. Interim CEO Christos Ross will accept the award on the company’s behalf. Learn more.

Ibram X. Kendi , Ph.D., Founder & Director, Boston University Center for Antiracist Research – Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D., is the Founder & Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, and also serves as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities. Dr. Kendi is an award-winning historian and a leading voice on antiracism. He is the author of three books, including recent New York Times bestseller “How to be an Antiracist.” His second book, “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest author to ever win that award. He has been named the Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University for 2020-2021. Learn more.

The Honorable Jim McGovern, U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts’ 2nd Congressional District – U.S. Representative Jim McGovern was first elected to Congress in 1996, and is currently serving his 12th term representing Massachusetts’ 2nd Congressional District, which includes his hometown of Worcester and much of Worcester County and the Pioneer Valley. During the 116th Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named him the Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, which determines what bills are considered on the House floor and sets the rules for debate. He is also a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, where he has been one of America’s most outspoken advocates for combatting hunger and food insecurity. He also co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Chairs the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, where has been a leader in the fight to protect human rights around the globe. Learn more.

The Honorable Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, 2013-2017 – Appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ambassador Samantha Power served as the 28th United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President’ Obama’s cabinet, from 2013-2017. In this role, she was the public face of U.S. opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, helped build new international law to cripple ISIL’s financial networks, and supported President Obama’s response to the Ebola crisis. She is also the author of several books, including her 2019 memoir, “ The Education of an Idealist,” which was a New York Times bestseller. She is currently a faculty member at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School. Learn more.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange.  For more information, please visit:


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