David F. D'Alessandro

David F. D'Alessandro

David F. D’Alessandro (born 1951, Utica, New York) is a former Fortune 200 CEO and the author of three best-selling business books. While rising through the ranks and serving as chairman and CEO of John Hancock Financial Services, he guided the company through a period of diversification, growth and transformation from a private mutual company to a major public corporation.


Education and early career

David D’Alessandro attended Utica College of Syracuse University, receiving a dual degree in public affairs and journalism in 1972. He began his career at a public relations firm, Daniel J. Edelman. From 1974–1984 he was a marketing executive at Control Data Corporation.

John Hancock, 1984–2000

In 1984, D’Alessandro was hired by Boston-based John Hancock Financial Services to modernize the firm’s image.[1] Among the initiatives he launched was an advertising campaign, “Real Life, Real Answers,”[2] which won numerous awards, including a CLIO[3] and the Cannes Film Festival Best Commercial award.[4] He also expanded the company’s brand-building efforts into national and international sports marketing.[5][6][7] In 1999, The New York Times named John Hancock one of the 100 “most powerful” brands of the 20th century.[8]

Beginning in 1987, D’Alessandro was given responsibility for an increasing number of John Hancock’s primary business lines.[9] Named President and COO in 1998,[10] he became the lead strategist of the firm’s demutualization and conversion to a public company.[11] The resulting IPO share price in 2000 was the highest price-to-book ratio of any US life insurance IPO.[12]

Tenure as CEO

In 2000, D’Alessandro was named chairman and CEO of John Hancock.[13] Under his leadership for the next five years, the firm became a diversified financial services company with record earnings, revenue and return on investment.[14] D’Alessandro then spearheaded a 2004 merger with Canadian-based Manulife Financial Corporation.[15] Although he and the Hancock management team were subjected to criticism for executive compensation, the criticism diminished after the company’s stock price rose 157% from the IPO to the merger close.[16] Upon completion of the merger, D’Alessandro became president and COO of Manulife.[17] He announced his retirement from Manulife in June, 2004.[18]


David D’Alessandro has authored three national best-selling books with Michele Owens: Brand Warfare: 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand (2001, McGraw-Hill),[19] Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It (2004, McGraw-Hill)[20] and Executive Warfare: 10 Rules for Engagement For Winning Your War For Success (2008, McGraw-Hill).[21]

Other activities

D’Alessandro is currently chairman of the board of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.[22] He advises civic, business and community organizations and is a guest speaker on a variety business issues. He is a member of the Boston University Board of Trustees[23] and led its most recent presidential search.[24] He also led the city of Boston’s search for its police commissioner.[25] A former partner in the Boston Red Sox ownership group,[26] he was appointed by Major League Baseball to the Commissioner’s Special Task Force on Baseball in the 21st century.[27] In 2009, Governor Deval Patrick selected him to lead an independent review of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.[28] D’Alessandro became a restaurateur in 2006 with the purchase of Ristorante Toscano.[29]

Honors and recognition

David D’Alessandro has been named among the country’s best CEOs by Money Magazine,[30] Fortune[31] and Worth;[32] as Marketer of the Year by Adweek[33] and as one the ”100 Most Powerful People in Sports” for nine consecutive years by Sporting News.[34] He was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Bentley College, Syracuse University and Newbury College. In 2009, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations awarded him an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.[35]

External links


  1. ^ Mehegan, David, "Doing it his way", Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, April 16, 2000
  2. ^ Shoultz, Donald, "John Hancock paints 'Real Life,' Posits 'Answers in Ad campaign'", American Banker, December 24, 1985
  3. ^ "John Hancock wins Clio for Best National Ad Campaign", Associated Press, June 17, 1986
  4. ^ Frankfurt, Steve, "Grand Prix Winner: A Slice of 'Real Life'", AdWeek, July 7, 1986
  5. ^ Maeroff, Gene I., "Giant Step for Boston", New York Times, April 21, 1986
  6. ^ Powers, John, "Hancock Olympic sponsor – but it's not a would-be host", Boston Globe, July 16, 1993
  7. ^ Gatlin, Greg, "Hancock entering MLB lineup", Boston Herald, January 4, 2000
  8. ^ Elliott, Stuart, "Brands that shaped marketing in the 20th century, and some with promise in the 21st", New York Times, December 13, 1999
  9. ^ Denison, D.C., "The Interview: David D'Alessandro", Boston Globe, December 24, 1989
  10. ^ Bailey, Steve and Syre, Steven, "D'Alessandro continues remarkable rise at Hancock", Boston Globe, December 10, 1996
  11. ^ Light, Larry and Smith, Geoffrey, "Brushing the cobwebs off John Hancock", Business Week, June 2, 1997
  12. ^ Browning, Lynnley, "A cool reception on the Street – The new John Hancock inches up in first trading day", Boston Globe, January 28, 2000
  13. ^ Nelson, Scott Bernard, "Hancock's Brown to retire May 4; CEO D'Alessandro to replace him", Boston Globe, February 6, 2001
  14. ^ "John Hancock CEO says concentrate and diversify", BestWire, May 14, 2001
  15. ^ Bailey, Steve and Nelson, Scott Bernard, "John Hancock sold for $10.9b", Boston Globe, September 29, 2003
  16. ^ Bailey, Steve, "Not afraid to be loud", Boston Globe, June 11, 2004
  17. ^ Sukiennik, Greg, "Canada's Manulife buying insurance giant John Hancock in $10.4 billion deal", Associated Press, September 29, 2003
  18. ^ Caffrey, Andrew, "Hancock chief D'Alessandro stepping down", Boston Globe, June 11, 2004
  19. ^ Eichenwald, Kurt, "MANAGEMENT: Why Not to Stonewall in the Midst of a Scandal", New York Times, July 4, 2001
  20. ^ Stein, Charles, "Hancock CEO offers view on selling the you of you", Boston Globe, December 21, 2003
  21. ^ Leddy, Chuck, "Former John Hancock CEO shares plan for climbing to the top", Boston Globe, September 22, 2008
  22. ^ Clarke, Sara K., "SeaWorld Parks appoints chariman", Orlando Sentinel, September 5, 2010
  23. ^ "Boston University Board of Trustees Names New Chair and Vice Chair; Former Trustee D'Alessandro Returns to Board", PR Newswire, April 15, 2004
  24. ^ Bombardieri, Marcella, "8 to aid search for president for BU", Boston Globe, September 24, 2004
  25. ^ Smelley, Suzanne, "Ex-CEO to aid Menino with police post search", Boston Globe, June 6, 2006
  26. ^ "D'Alessandro joins Red Sox limited partners", Associated Press, April 5, 2003
  27. ^ Blum, Ronald, "Selig opposes more playoff teams", Associated Press, January 16, 2003
  28. ^ MBTA Review, 11/2009
  29. ^ Baily, Steve, "Eat at David's", Boston Globe, November 16, 2007
  30. ^ Carbonara, Peter, "The Best of the New CEO's", Money Magazine, 10/2001
  31. ^ Davenport, Carol, "On the Rise", Fortune, May 22, 1989
  32. ^ "Worth Magazine names the Top 50 CEO's", Business Wire, April 23, 2001
  33. ^ Mehegan, David, "Doing it his way", Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, April 16, 2000
  34. ^ Knisley, Michael, "TSN Most Powerful 100", Sporting News, January 9, 1996
  35. ^ The Congressional Record, June 10, 2009

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