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Hollister Named CFO and VP for Finance

Thomas Hollister was named Harvard’s chief financial officer, vice president for finance.
Thomas Hollister was named Harvard’s chief financial officer, vice president for finance.
By Mariel A. Klein and Tyler S. B. Olkowski, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard named Boston banker Thomas J. Hollister the new chief financial officer and vice president for finance on Wednesday, concluding a months-long search for the new executive.

Hollister will replace Dan S. Shore, who announced he was stepping down in August to work at OnShape Inc., a technology start-up in Cambridge, as its CFO. Hollister will take the reins of Harvard’s administrative financial team during a University-wide $6.5 billion fundraising drive. The University announced the appointment in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas Hollister was named Harvard’s chief financial officer, vice president for finance.
Thomas Hollister was named Harvard’s chief financial officer, vice president for finance. By Courtesy of Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

“It is an incredible privilege to join Harvard in this role, and I look forward to working with others across the institution to advance the University’s mission and its success,” Hollister said in a statement.

Responsible for the University’s financial administration, Hollister will work directly under Executive Vice President Katherine N. Lapp, where he will oversee financial planning and reporting, and cash and debt management.

“I am thrilled that Tom is joining Harvard. We will benefit from his wealth of experience spanning all areas of finance—from capital markets, to banking and real estate,” Lapp said in a statement. “He is smart, strategic, and has likely faced every conceivable financial challenge.”

A graduate of Amherst College and Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, Hollister formerly served as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Global Partners LP, a Fortune 500 energy distribution company that is a “leader in the transportation of crude oil,” according to the company’s website.

Before that, he served as president of Citizens Bank of Massachusetts and then vice chairman of Citizens Financial Group.

Hollister has also held board positions at Tufts Medical Center and Wheaton College.

Not all welcome Hollister to his new position at Harvard. Following its week-long protest demanding that Harvard divest its $35.9 billion endowment from fossil fuels, environmental activist group Divest Harvard condemned the appointment of Hollister for his role in the oil and gas business.

"Harvard's choice to hire Mr. Hollister highlights how this University continues to uphold the status quo that enables climate change and condones the fossil fuel industry,” Divest Harvard co-founder Chloe S. Maxmin ’15 wrote in a statement. “This action is inconsistent with the morals that we are taught in the classrooms of this University everyday."

University spokesperson Jeff Neal maintained, as has University President Drew G. Faust, that Harvard focuses its efforts on combating climate change through research and teaching. Neal wrote in a statement that Hollister was hired “due to his deep experience in all areas of finance, including more than 30 years in banking.”

Hollister starts in his new position in mid-May.

—Staff writer Mariel A. Klein can be reached at mariel.klein@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @mariel_klein.

—Staff writer Tyler S. B. Olkowski can be reached at tyler.olkowski@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @OlkowskiTyler.

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