THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Veteran civic leader to run BRA

Peter Meade is a close ally of mayor

By Casey Ross
Globe Staff / April 5, 2011

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Peter Meade, a longtime Democratic operative and a former executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, will be named director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority today by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a person with knowledge of the plan said.

Meade will replace director John Palmieri, who recently announced he will step down in May. Over the years, Meade has developed a close relationship with Menino, who is deeply involved in development issues reviewed by the BRA.

Meade’s appointment comes as the city struggles to recover from a sharp real estate downturn that has delayed many large development projects, including several on the South Boston Waterfront and the redevelopment of the former Filene’s property in Downtown Crossing.

Meade does not have deep experience as a real estate professional, but is a well-known civic leader in Boston and has worked in and around city and state politics for decades.

In the 1970s, he held several posts in the administration of Mayor Kevin H. White, including serving as public safety coordinator during the unrest that followed the court-mandated desegregation of Boston’s schools.

He also worked for 12 years as executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield and as managing director of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, a Boston public relations firm.

A longtime associate of the Kennedy family, Meade recently served as chairman of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and as head of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.