Skip to content

Newt Merrill is Elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

June 5, 2007

Newton P.S. Merrill, senior executive vice president (retired) of The Bank of New York, has been elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Merrill was elected at the Board’s spring meeting May 18 in Woods Hole. He succeeds James E. Moltz, who served as chairman for nine years.

“We’re very pleased that Newt has agreed to serve in this position,” said Acting President and Director James R. Luyten.  “He’s demonstrated his commitment to the Institution over many years, and has the experience and knowledge to lead the Board effectively.”

As Chairman of the Board, Merrill will preside at all meetings of the Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee and maintain a close working relationship with the president and director. Merrill has oversight responsibility to ensure that the Board of Trustees fulfills its primary duties — setting the mission of the organization; approving the annual budgets and maintaining fiscal stability; ensuring that the Institution has adequate physical and financial resources to accomplish its mission; and hiring and reviewing the performance of the chief executive. There are currently 30 members of the Board, which meets in Woods Hole every May and October and in New York every January.
Merrill, 67, was born in Mt. Kisco, NY, attended Harvard College, and spent much of his career at The Bank of New York. He headed groups handling lending to large corporations, as well as leasing and investment banking activities. He worked for three years as a senior executive vice president at the Bank of Boston until 1994, when he returned to The Bank of New York. He retired in 2004.

First elected to the WHOI Corporation in 1993 and to Board of Trustees in 1997, Merrill has served on the Investment Committee, the Coastal Ocean Institute Committee, the Campaign Committee, and the Executive Committee, among others. Merrill also is chairman of the Museum of the City of New York and a trustee with the Connecticut River Museum. He and his wife, Polly, a former elementary school teacher, live in New York City.

“It’s a pleasure for me to hand off to someone as devoted to WHOI as Newt,” said retiring Chairman of the Board Jim Moltz, who will remain active as an Honorary Trustee.  “He fully understands the organization’s culture and challenges, and he has the ability to build consensus that is so important to board leadership.” In May, Moltz and his wife Barry were honored with the Cecil H. Green Award, which was established by WHOI Associates in 1991 to honor those “who have made outstanding contributions to oceanographic research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.”

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization in Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment.