Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Peter Meade was introduced this morning at City Hall as the new director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
Meade is a long-time Democratic operative and a former executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
“I wanted someone who knows and loves our city, someone who could hit the ground running,’’ Menino said at a City Hall press conference today. “Peter has a keen knowledge of Boston. He’s a Dorchester guy who knows Boston inside and out.’’
Menino said Meade’s professional career has touched on the industries that fuel the city’s economy – government, higher education, white collar businesses, and nonprofit groups.
Meade, who now lives in Back Bay, said that “like the mayor, my wife and I grew up in the city. We love this city.’’
In a statement, Meade said, that “Boston is a place of great history that has continued to thrive as an innovative 21st century city. I look forward to working together to build a prosperous home for the residents, families, and businesses of Boston.”
Meade will replace director John Palmieri, who recently announced he will step down in May. Over the years, Meade has developed a close relationship with Menino, who is deeply involved in development issues reviewed by the BRA.
Meade’s appointment comes as the city struggles to recover from a sharp real estate downturn that has delayed many large development projects, including several on the South Boston Waterfront and the redevelopment of the former Filene’s property in Downtown Crossing.
Meade does not have deep experience as a real estate professional, but is a well-known civic leader in Boston and has worked in and around city and state politics for decades.
In the 1970s, he held several posts in the administration of Mayor Kevin H. White, including serving as public safety coordinator during the unrest that followed the court-mandated desegregation of Boston’s schools.
He also worked for 12 years as executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield and as managing director of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, a Boston public relations firm.
A long-time associate of the Kennedy family, Meade recently served as chairman of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and as head of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
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