Scot Landry, left, and James McDonough are bringing their private-sector experience to the Archdiocese of Boston, which has been burdened by scandal and financial problems.
Naomi R. Kooker
Scot Landry, a compact man with two BlackBerrys strapped to his right hip, is changing the way some Catholics view the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.
He has to. As the new chief development officer and secretary of institutional advancement, Landry is charged with cultivating new donors and bringing back former ones who went astray after the church's sex abuse scandal.
The only catch is Landry, former COO of Eze Castle Software in Boston, has no development experience. What the Harvard Business School grad does bring is years of information technology experience, national brand marketing and business skills and a strong connection to a younger generation of Catholics.
Landry, 36, along with the archdiocese's chancellor, James P. McDonough, 55, former CEO of Abington Savings Bank, are the new executive team hired to bring the Archdiocese of Boston into its next phase: rebuilding trust in the Catholic Church in Boston by reconnecting and serving the community, cleaning up the financial mess and engaging more lay people in the process. Though the archdiocese's hiring of private sector executives is nothing new, what is different is how urgently Landry and McDonough's skills are needed.
"I think it is a very critical moment," said Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley. "We have been facing huge deficits and we're at a point now where we've been able to get closer to a balanced budget. But we have great capital needs in our parishes and institutions, so the administration of the properties and the funds of the archdiocese are crucial for us going forward"
The archdiocese is $46 million in debt, according to its financial records, which were made public earlier this year. It has closed 67 parishes, leaving 298, and cut 50 archdiocese administrative positions as part of the reconfiguration. The archdiocese's core operating budget for administration and mission-driven agencies -- not including the parishes -- is $32 million annually, and 275 people work in those areas.
Less than two months on the job, Landry persuaded one couple who had stopped giving $10,000 to the archdiocese's annual appeal to give again next year. He sat with the couple in their living room, listening to why they had stopped giving, hearing their frustration about the church. "You can't overcome all their objections," said Landry, "but you can listen."
While Landry and McDonough have deep roots in the for-profit world, they also have strong ties to the Catholic Church. At one point in their lives, each attended seminary.
McDonough, married with two children, is known for building the former Abington Savings Bank into a $1 billion entity before it was bought by Seacoast Financial Services Corp., then sold to Sovereign Bancorp. He says he was "very blessed and didn't need a job" when he joined the archdiocese in June. But without the archdiocese's financial disclosure, he wouldn't have come.
"There were some terrible mistakes made," he said. "In my mind the first substantive step, which we are saying, is, 'Here's the money. Here's where it goes. Anything you want to know about it is right here.' "
McDonough, who oversees finances, real estate holdings and general business operations, said an important step will be rebuilding a financial team. "Effecting cultural change is my second priority," he said. "There's a whole issue of getting people here to understand we're in service to others."
The goal for Landry, who is married with three children, is to close out the current annual appeal, which has a $13 million target. "We've raised $10.2 million already," he said. "We're ahead of where we were last year."
Naomi R. Kooker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.