David F. D'Alessandro

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David F. D'Alessandro
David D'Alessandro Headshot.jpg
Born David Francis D'Alessandro
(1951-01-06) January 6, 1951 (age 67)
Utica, New York
Nationality USA
Alma mater Utica College of Syracuse University (B.S., 1972)
Occupation businessman
Known for entrepreneur, corporate executive, author
Parent(s) Dominick D'Alessandro
Rosemary Pallaria

David F. D’Alessandro (born January 6, 1951, Utica, New York) is a former Fortune 200 Chief Executive Officer (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[edit]

D’Alessandro graduated from Proctor High School in Utica in the class of 1968. He then 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, 1984–2004[edit]

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]

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]

Other activities[edit]

D’Alessandro was chairman of the board of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.(2010-17)[19] Mr. D'Alessandro is a board member of two Blackstone companies, Vivint and Vivint Solar. He is CEO of DFD Enterprises which invests in a variety of companies.He advises civic, business and community organizations and is a guest speaker on a wide series of topics. He is a member of the Boston University Board of Trustees[20] and led its presidential search.[21] He also led the city of Boston’s search for its police commissioner.[22] A former partner in the Boston Red Sox ownership group,[23] he was appointed by Major League Baseball to the Commissioner’s Special Task Force on Baseball in the 21st century.[24] In 2009, Governor Deval Patrick selected him to lead an independent review of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.[25] In 2006 D'Alessandro became a restaurateur purchasing and revitalizing Beacon Hill iconic Northern Italian restaurant, Toscano. In 2013 Toscano expanded with a new location in historic Harvard Square.

D'Alessandro former roles include Chairman of the Wang Center for Performing Arts, Vice Chairman Boston University Trustees, Vice Chairman Boston Chamber of Commerce,trustee of Syracuse University, trustee of Brigham Women's Hospital, trustee of Partners Healthcare Network, board member Red Aurebach Foundation and a number of other community board activities.

Honors and recognition[edit]

David D’Alessandro has been named among the country’s best new CEOs by Money Magazine,[26] Fortune[27] and Worth;[28] as Marketer of the Year by Adweek[29] and as one the ”100 Most Powerful People in Sports” for nine consecutive years by Sporting News.[30]

He was awarded an honorary doctorate of law degree from Syracuse University and honorary doctorate degrees from Bentley University and Newbury College. In 2009, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations awarded him an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.[31]


David D’Alessandro has authored three business books. All of them have been national best sellers in the New York Times, Business Week or The Wall Street Journal. They have been published in multiple languages.

  • Brand Warfare: 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand (2001, McGraw-Hill) [32]
  • Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It (2004, McGraw-Hill) [33]
  • Executive Warfare: 10 Rules for Engagement For Winning Your War For Success (2008, McGraw-Hill).[34]


  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. ^ Clarke, Sara K., "SeaWorld Parks appoints chairman", Orlando Sentinel.September 5, 2010
  20. ^ "Boston University Board of Trustees Names New Chair and Vice Chair; Former Trustee D'Alessandro Returns to Board", PR Newswire, April 15, 2004
  21. ^ Bombardieri, Marcella, "8 to aid search for president for BU", Boston Globe, September 24, 2004
  22. ^ Smelley, Suzanne, "Ex-CEO to aid Menino with police post search", Boston Globe, June 6, 2006
  23. ^ "D'Alessandro joins Red Sox limited partners", Associated Press, April 5, 2003
  24. ^ Blum, Ronald, "Selig opposes more playoff teams", Associated Press, January 16, 2003
  25. ^ MBTA Review, 11/2009
  26. ^ Carbonara, Peter, "The Best of the New CEO's", Money Magazine, 10/2001
  27. ^ Davenport, Carol, "On the Rise", Fortune, May 22, 1989
  28. ^ "Worth Magazine names the Top 50 CEO's", Business Wire, April 23, 2001
  29. ^ Mehegan, David, "Doing it his way", Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, April 16, 2000
  30. ^ Knisley, Michael, "TSN Most Powerful 100", Sporting News, January 9, 1996
  31. ^ The Congressional Record, June 10, 2009
  32. ^ Eichenwald, Kurt, "MANAGEMENT: Why Not to Stonewall in the Midst of a Scandal", New York Times, July 4, 2001
  33. ^ Stein, Charles, "Hancock CEO offers view on selling the you of you", Boston Globe, December 21, 2003
  34. ^ Leddy, Chuck, "Former John Hancock CEO shares plan for climbing to the top", Boston Globe, September 22, 2008

External links[edit]