NEC to Present “New Englander of the Year” Awards at 2012 Annual Dinner

Business organization to honor Congressman John Larson, Fidelity Financial Services President Abby Johnson, SBLI CEO Bob Sheridan, and historian David McCullough

BOSTON – The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, will present its prestigious “New Englander of the Year” awards at its 2012 Annual Dinner at the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center in Boston on Thursday, October 4, 2012.  This year’s recipients are U.S. Representative John Larson, Fidelity Financial Services President Abigail Johnson, SBLI CEO Robert Sheridan, and historian and author David McCullough.  Over 1,400 New England Council members representing businesses large and small across a wide range of industries throughout New England will be in attendance.

The “New Englander of the Year” awards are presented each year by the New England Council and honor residents 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 Senators George Mitchell, Ted Kennedy, Jack Reed, Judd Gregg, Christopher Dodd, and John Kerry; Congressmen Richard Neal, Ed Markey, and Barney Frank; and business leaders Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics, Jack Welch of General Electric, Charles Shivery of Northeast Utilities, and many other respected government, business, and non-profit leaders.

“Our 2012 New Englanders of the Year embody all that is great about this region.  They are effective leaders, innovative thinkers, and they are each as dedicated to both their community they are to their work,” said James T. Brett, President and CEO of the New England Council.  “These four individuals have made countless contributions, not only to the business community, but to the New England region as a whole. We’re delighted to be celebrating their accomplishments with hundreds of our members at this year’s Annual Dinner.”

The New England Council’s Board of Directors selected this year’s four recipients based on their esteemed careers and countless contributions to the region:

  • Abigail P. Johnson, President, Fidelity Financial Services – Abby Johnson oversees a broad organization comprising the company’s financial services businesses – asset management, retail and institutional brokerage, retirement and benefits services, as well as corporate operations and function support groups.  The businesses under her leadership serve more than 20 million customers throughout the U.S., including about 1.8 million in New England.  She continues the spirit of family enterprise and community involvement that has defined the Johnsons for generations.

  • The Honorable John Larson, United States Representative – Congressman John Larson is currently serving his 7th term representing Connecticut’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In November 2010, his colleagues reelected him to a second term as the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, making him the 4th ranking Democrat in the House. Rep. Larson also serves on the influential Ways & Means Committee, and has been a leader on a wide range of issues affecting the New England region, from job creation, to energy independence, to advanced manufacturing.
  • David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author – Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough has been described as a “master of the art of narrative history,” and has been honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Time and again, his books top the New York Times Best Sellers list, and his 2001 biography John Adams remains one of the most praised and widely read American biographies of all time. He has lectured around the world, and is one of the few private citizens to address a joint session of Congress.
  • Robert K. Sheridan, President & CEO, Savings Bank Life Insurance (SBLI) – In November, Bob Sheridan will retire after 20 remarkable years at the helm of one of the nation’s leading life insurance providers, Savings Bank Life Insurance (SBLI). During his tenure, Bob has led SBLI through impressive growth and success, transforming the company from a small local insurer to a large national competitor. In addition to his personal support for a wide range of charitable causes, from higher education to children’s charities, Bob has also established SBLI as one of our region’s most generous corporate citizens.

The New England Council’s 2012 Annual Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 4, 2012, at the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center in Boston.  The reception will begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by a dinner program and award presentation beginning at 6:00 p.m.  This year’s Annual Dinner is being chaired by New England Council board member Greg Butler, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at Northeast Utilities.

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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