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F. Gorham Brigham, Jr.
Understanding why F. Gorham Brigham, Jr., at age 91, is a celebrated financial executive is clear when reading his response to the question, "Who has influenced your career in finance?" To this question, he replied, "Being hired by Larry Fish (CEO of Citizens Financial Group), when I was 78 years old was critical to my development as an exemplary financial executive over the last 12+ years of my career." And, on learning of his nomination, Brigham expressed being "surprised and overwhelmed that my many friends, primarily from the Boston Chapter, had recommended me for this honor."
Brigham can trace his Massachusetts forebears straight back to the landing of the May-flower. His distinguished career, all in the Boston area, began in 1937 and 1938 as a summer intern with Scudder, Stevens & Clark. Upon graduation, with his MBA from Harvard, he joined Coopers & Lybrand in Boston (1939-40), and when called to active military duty a year later, he served under the leadership of Gen. George C. Marshall until 1946. He was decorated personally by Gen. Marshall with the Legion of Merit, and remained in the Army Reserve until he retired in 1967 with the rank of Colonel, Finance Corps. Brigham's career in finance began at Saco Lowell Shops (1946-60) as assistant to the treasurer, treasurer and secretary; Epsco Inc. (1960-62), as vice president, finance and director; and Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Co. (1962-83), as controller and then vice president. In February 1983, he was elected Vice President of Boston Five Cent Savings Bank (which was acquired by Citizen's Bank of Massachusetts in 1993); he then worked at Citizen's Bank (vice president, then elected senior vice president in 1998) until his retirement in 2005. He worked 60 to 80 hours a week, usually arriving at his office by 5:00 am.
Besides his exceptional service for FEI, Brigham is a widely-praised community activist for business, charitable and patriotic organizations. His seven decades of providing mentoring are legendary in Boston, where every major newspaper, trade or business publication has done pieces on him, and he's the recipient of dozens of prestigious awards for his volunteerism. Among his notable nonprofit endeavors: founding the Treasurer's Club of Boston and co-founding The Carroll School for children with dyslexia. He's remained affiliated with his alma mater, Harvard, and has also served in trustee and/or board positions. Nominator Comments: "The mentor of leaders," says Michael Simons, current president of FEI's Boston Chapter. "Brigham is a Boston Brahmin who consistently seeks to advance the personal and professional life of everyone he meets, including minorities and females."
Charles R. Fitzpatrick, a former Boston Chapter president says, "Part of the secret to his success is his compassion and sensitivity to what is going on in the lives of people around him and his untiring willingness to be of assistance to others. His humanitarian side is one of his greatest strengths." Joseph G. DiLorenzo, also a Boston Chapter past-president, says he considers Brigham his own "life mentor," adding that Brigham has provided mentoring to peers and co-workers and advice to many of the current Chapter members. "He always wants to help and never expects anything in return." Indeed, as Alan Faber says, "What many have become is due to the personal and professional standards set by Gorham Brigham."