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Alison Alden is named vice president for human resources

Alison Alden, most recently senior vice president for human resources at John Hancock, has been named MIT's next vice president for human resources, effective Jan. 15.

Executive Vice President Sherwin Greenblatt announced the appointment today. In an e-mail announcing the appointment, Greenblatt noted that Alden is widely recognized as "an exceptional leader in human resources and organizational development."

"With a strong commitment to diversity, she has worked to make leading organizations the employers of choice in their fields, and in implementing change she has built on organizations' existing strengths to lay the foundations for deep and sustainable initiatives," he wrote.

Alden said, "MIT is not only one of the world's great educational institutions, it is also recognized as a superb place to work. I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues in Human Resources and across the Institute to provide the innovative services and programs that a diverse, forward-looking organization needs in an era of rapid change in the workplace."

Alden joined Manulife Financial, the second-largest life insurance company in North America, in 2001 and was at John Hancock from its acquisition by Manulife in 2004 until her retirement earlier this year.

Prior to joining Manulife, Alden spent a decade at NStar and its predecessor, Boston Edison, where she served as vice president for marketing, sales and customer service, and later served as senior vice president of human resources. She was the first woman in the company's history to serve as an officer.

Alden began her career as a consultant in organizational development and held executive positions at Filene's and the Bank of New England. She earned her bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College in 1970 and holds an M.Ed. from American University and an Ed.D. in organizational development from Harvard. She also studied business at the University of Michigan.

"As our next vice president for human resources, Alison Alden will uphold the Institute's strong tradition as an exceptional employer," Greenblatt wrote.

Greenblatt thanked the search advisory committee for the position, which included 11 members of the faculty and staff and was chaired by Professor Thomas A. Kochan of the MIT Sloan School of Management. "The committee's work helped us enormously in clarifying the Institute's needs, shaping the position, and finding the best candidate," he said.

Greenblatt also thanked the Human Resources Leadership Team and Interim Vice President for Human Resources Margaret Ann Gray for their leadership over the past few months.

"Their teamwork has represented MIT at its best," he wrote.

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