By Cary Shuman
Richard E. Holbrook, retiring chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank, was honored at a Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) breakfast Sept. 15 at the Nahant Country Club.
Holbrook will retire from his position on Dec. 31, concluding an outstanding tenure during which Eastern quintupled its total assets to more than $10 billion and expanded to 100 branch offices. He has served as CEO and chairman since 2007.
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy presented a key to the city and a congratulatory proclamation to Holbrook. It was only the fourth “key” that the mayor has presented during her seven years in office. She also proclaimed Sept. 15 as Richard E. Holbrook Day.
“Richard E. Holbrook has been a successful business man in Lynn for more than two decades,” said Holbrook. “In 1999 he directed Eastern Bank to donate 10 percent of its profits to charity, greatly benefiting Lynn not-for-profit organizations.”
Teresa Sarno, chair of the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerc and Eastern Bank vice president and branch manager, introduced Bob Rivers, who will succeed Holbrook.
Rivers praised Holbrook’s leadership and his commitment to Lynn. “I am truly privileged to have the opportunity to recognize and celebrate with all of you one of the true icons of the banking industry, a leader who has made a significant impact in Lynn and many other communities throughout the Greater Boston region, and a mentor and friend to so many of us at Eastern.”.
Rivers told LACC members and guests that Holbrook began his banking career after graduating from Harvard Business School in 1980. Holbrook also holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. “You know, the typical background for a banker,” Rivers jested.
Concluding his remarks, Rivers said, “Rich Holbrook is the ultimate personification of what it means to be a community banker. As a result, Rich was fittingly named Community Banker of the Year by the national industry newspaper, American Banker.”
Holbrook said he was proud of Eastern’s commitment to non-profit organizations and its many contributions to the city of Lynn.
“We have 500 employees still in the city of Lynn and most of those employees live very close and many walk to work,” said Holbrook. “Our employees make Lynn a better place because our people are very much engaged in this community. There has been continual progress in the city and it’s been wonderful to see.”
Holbrook said although his office is in downtown Boston [after being in Lynn], he looks to the right of his desk and views an 1854 lithograph called, “The View from High Rock,” which displays the city of Lynn.
After calling Lynn “a great city,” in the final part of his speech, Holbrook received a prolonged ovation from the guests in attendance.