Rob Manning, Meehan ally, returns to UMass Board

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Written by Michael Norton

Robert Manning, who quit his chairmanship of the UMass Board of Trustees in 2010 and this year led the search that resulted in Martin Meehan’s selection as UMass president, is back on the board.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday named Manning and Robert Epstein to the UMass board and Robert Johnson to the state Board of Higher Education.

Manning, chair and co-chief executive officer of MFS Investment Management, will fill the UMass Lowell alumni seat vacated by Zoila Gomez.

In 2010, Manning and UMass Vice Chairman James Karam met with Gov. Deval Patrick after reports surfaced that Patrick may have been unhappy with the emergence of Meehan, then the chancellor of UMass Lowell, as the front runner to replace Jack Wilson as president. Patrick at the time denied any intrusion into the search process, reiterating his position that he had no favored candidates. Manning resigned his post just weeks after the meeting, calling it a good time for new leadership.

Robert Caret, who was ultimately picked to succeed Wilson, resigned this year to return to Maryland to lead the state university system.

Epstein, a UMass-Amherst graduate who was raised in Brockton, has helped grow his family business, Horizon Beverage Group, into a major distributor in New England. He will replace Ruben King-Shaw Jr., who served two full terms on the board.

Johnson, who became the tenth president of Becker College in 2010, will replace Maura Banta on the Board of Higher Education.

Copyright State House News Service