Yellow Light Breen, an education activist and senior executive at Bangor Savings Bank, has been named the new chief officer of Maine Development Foundation.

The foundation’s board made the announcement Tuesday, hailing Breen, who has served on the economic development foundation’s board and led Realize Maine, a foundation program to attract, retain and support young professionals.

“Yellow’s background and interests are a perfect fit for our organization. He brings a plethora of relevant experience and a track record of advancing innovative strategies that help organizations grow and prosper,” said Jonathan Edgerton, board chairman, in a statement. “Yellow has been a longtime and valuable supporter of MDF’s programs. His commitments to a number of important education initiatives, along with his work to effectively boost the Maine economy, are noteworthy and align with the mission of our organization.”

Breen will assume the president and CEO’s role of the foundation Aug. 10. He has served as executive vice president and chief strategic officer at Bangor Savings Bank for the past 12 years.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Maine Development Foundation, an organization that is so essential to our state’s well-being,” Breen said in a statement. “I am grateful that the board has put their confidence in me and I look forward to working with the board, the dedicated, talented staff and all members, partners and stakeholders. MDF’s non-partisan, long-term work to advance the Maine economy by stimulating new ideas, developing leaders, strengthening communities and solving problems has never been more critical.”

Founded in 1978 by statute, the Maine Development Foundation works to drive long-term sustainable growth for the state. Among its initiatives is compiling and publishing Measures of Growth, an annual assessment of key data and indicators that reflect the well-being of Maine’s economy. Published in partnership with the Maine Economic Growth Council, which guides state decision-making and policy initiatives, Measures of Growth grades the progress (or lack thereof) of benchmarks such as worker productivity, energy costs and high-speed Internet subscribers. The report has been published for 21 years.

Breen will replace Harold Clossey, who resigned unexpectedly in April for health and personal reasons. He will be the third CEO to assume the position since longtime CEO Laurie Lachance resigned in 2012 to become president of Thomas College. Lachance’s eight-year year tenure was followed by an 11-month stint of Ed Cervone, who had been program director for the Maine Economic Growth Council. Cervone left in August 2013 for personal reasons, and assumed the executive director position at Educate Maine last year. Clossey was hired in January 2014.

A Maine native, Breen was born and raised in St. Albans, where he graduated from Nokomis Regional High School. He went on to Harvard University and majored in government before attending Harvard Law School where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Following graduation, he was named a Kaufman Fellow for “truly exceptional promise for work in the public interest.”

Recently, he has served as chair of both the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education and Educate Maine. He lives with his family in Holden.


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