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Bob Wright retires as Civic Association chairman; Michael Pucillo named successor

Breaking News: Bob Wright retires as Civic Association chairman; Michael Pucillo named successor

Bob Wright is stepping down after 13 years as chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association and will be succeeded by Vice Chairman Michael Pucillo.

Wright’s departure and Pucillo’s appointment were announced following Wednesday’s meeting of the Civic Association’s Executive Committee.

The committee voted to name Pucillo as chairman and CEO and Wright as chairman emeritus, effective as of the organization’s April 17 annual meeting at the Flagler Museum.

Pucillo, 69, is a former member and president of the Town Council who was elected to three terms before leaving public office in 2017.

A retired securities lawyer and a lifelong resident of Palm Beach, he will take the reins of the Civic Association as the non-profit organization enters its 80th year.

Wright, 79, is a former president and CEO of NBC and was chairman and CEO of NBC Universal until 2007. He retired as vice chairman of General Electric in 2008.

Wright was named chairman of the Civic Association in 2010. He presided over the organization during a period marked by solid growth, a secure financial footing, an enhanced public profile and a vigorously expanded communications outreach.

“He led the Civic Association to greater heights,” Pucillo said of Wright. “He has been a very strong and great leader and is leaving big shoes to fill.”

Wright expressed confidence that the Civic Association will continue to prosper under the leadership of Pucillo and President Mary Robosson.

“We’ve accomplished a great deal and there’s no reason to think it can’t keep going with the right leadership and the right support,” Wright said. “… I’m very proud of what I was able to achieve here and of having such good people. Being able to recruit very good people is the key to any good organization.”

He said Pucillo is “completely qualified” to be chairman.

“He spent a lot of time on the Town Council,” Wright said. “He was [the council] president. He grew up here and knows more about Palm Beach than anybody.”

Vice Chairman Michele Kessler was among the Executive Committee members who thanked Wright for his years of groundbreaking leadership.

“What you’ve done for this organization is just light years from where it was when we came,” Kessler said.

Robosson said Wright cultivated long-lasting relationships that strengthened the Civic Association’s standing in the community.

“To work for Bob has been a true honor – his expertise, his high regard for our community, and his service to our members and directors,” Robosson said.

She continued, “The organization remains in great hands, under exceptional leadership with Michael Pucillo as the chairman-elect and Michele Kessler as vice chairman.”

In 2005, Wright and his late wife, Suzanne, co-founded Autism Speaks, a non-profit autism awareness and research organization, after one of their grandchildren was diagnosed with the condition.

Wright is also chairman and founder of the Suzanne Wright Foundation, which launched CodePurple, a national awareness and advocacy campaign to fight pancreatic cancer.

A native of Hempstead, N.Y., Wright has been a Palm Beach resident since 1998. He and his wife, Susan, a Civic Association director, live in the North End.

Pucillo joined the Civic Association’s Executive Committee in 2017 and was named vice chairman about three years ago. He is one of two vice chairmen in the organization, along with Kessler, who will remain at that post.

Pucillo and his wife Deborah, a retired Palm Beach County judge, live on Dunbar Road.


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