WPI Announces Interim Leadership Plan

June 25, 2013

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At a campus-wide town hall meeting on June 19, Philip B. Ryan '65 announced that he has been elected interim president of the university. Accordingly, he resigned his position as chairman of the WPI Board of Trustees; Warner Fletcher has been elected the new board chair.

"As WPI continues its ascent, the Board of Trustees wants to ensure that the university continues to thrive under strong leadership," Ryan said. "As we prepare to launch a thorough and thoughtful search for WPI’s 16th president, the board convened to discuss next steps. Together we determined that it would be best for the university if I were to commit myself fully to the role of interim president during the entirety of the search."

Before being elected chair, Fletcher, a member of the board since 1994, had served as vice chair since 2010. Francesca Maltese, who has been a member of the board since 2008, has been elected vice chair.

"I am delighted to serve my alma mater in such an esteemed fashion, especially at such an exciting time in our history," Ryan said. "I am also looking forward to working closely with Warner, the board, and the entire WPI community as we choose our next president and as we make strides towards such landmark events as the celebration of our 150th anniversary and the realization of 'if…The Campaign to Advance WPI.'"

Ryan graduated from WPI in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1970. In addition to having been a WPI board member since 1999, he has successfully led such organizations as Merchants Automotive Group, Elliot Health System, and The Bigelow Company through periods of significant transformation and profitable growth. He also brings extensive experience serving on numerous public, private, and non-profit boards. Most recently, as corporate advisor, he has been working closely with CEOs, their leadership teams, and boards in mentoring executive leadership and team development.

Fletcher, an attorney with FletcherTilton in Worcester, has more than 30 years of experience in estate planning and administration, corporations, real estate, and private and charitable trust work. He also brings significant board experience and is trustee of many private family foundations, charitable foundations, and non-profit organizations in the region, including the George I. Alden Trust, The Stoddard Charitable Trust, the Fletcher Foundation, and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. A retired lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, he received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and earned a law degree from Boston University Law School.

Maltese is project manager for development project with special site and building concerns and complicated permitting issues, including wetlands, historic preservation, and environmental contamination, at O’Connell Development Group. Prior to joining O’Connell, she was the regional economist for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. She serves on the boards of the Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development and the Massachusetts Association of Conversation Commissions, and is a corporator of the People’s Bank. Maltese is active in her community, having served in a number of capacities, including membership on several boards. She holds a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts.