CEO of New York Life Elected Chairman of Northeastern University Board of Trustees

Sy Sternberg Succeeds Neal F. Finnegan

TheCorporation of Northeastern University, a world leader in experiential education and translational research, has elected Sy Sternberg, MS ’68, as chairman. Sternberg is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of New York Life Insurance Company (NYLIC), the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurers in the world.

Sternberg joined the Board of Trustees in 2004 and will succeed Neal F. Finnegan, ’61, Hon. ’98, as chairman on July 1st. Finnegan, who becomes chairman emeritus, has served as chairman since 1998 and has served on the Board of Trustees since 1989.

Sternberg, who graduated from Northeastern with a master’s degree in electrical engineering, is one of the nation’s most prominent business leaders. His leadership acumen, deep understanding of the global arena and personal commitment to Northeastern will provide a vast resource of knowledge and experience to the board and the administrative leadership of Northeastern.

“Northeastern is now embarking upon some of the most ambitious and wide-ranging initiatives in the history of this institution,” observes Sternberg. “I look forward to working closely with President Joseph Aoun on the important work that lies ahead.”

The Sternberg family’s commitment to advance Northeastern through interdisciplinary research has manifested itself most recently with the establishment of two endowed interdisciplinary faculty positions. Sternberg and his wife, Laurie, have endowed the Sternberg Family Distinguished University Endowed Chair and the Sy and Laurie Sternberg Interdisciplinary Endowed Professorship.

“Northeastern is enjoying tremendous momentum. Each day brings with it excitement of what it is new. Sy Sternberg understands the impact of everything we do and appreciates our quest for future greatness,” said Joseph Aoun, President of Northeastern University. “Few leaders share Sy’s high caliber of vision and integrity, not to mention his absolute commitment to our university. We are fortunate to have the right leader, at the right time, to move Northeastern forward.”

Sternberg joined New York Life in 1989 as senior vice president in charge of the company’s group insurance department. In February 1995, he was elected vice chairman of the board of New York Life, and became president and chief operating officer on October 1, 1995. He became chairman of the board and chief executive officer on April 1, 1997.

Before joining New York Life, he spent 13 years at the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he was most recently senior executive vice president. In that position, he was one of three members of the office of the chairman and a member of the company’s board of directors.

Sternberg, a native of Brooklyn, New York, is a director of the CIT Group, Inc., Express Scripts, Inc., and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is also a director of the NYC Leadership Academy and the Partnership for New York City, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Business Roundtable and serves on its Task Forces on International Trade and Investment, Security and Fiscal Policy and the Leadership Committee of the Lincoln Center Consolidated Corporate Fund. Sternberg is a Board of Trustees member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. He is chairman of the City University of New York (CUNY) Business Leadership Council and vice chairman of the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund.

In 1999, Sternberg was appointed by President Clinton as one of three U.S. representatives to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council; he served through 2002. He is currently a member of the board of the US-China Business Council. Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Sternberg, along with former Mayor David Dinkins, co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Career and Technical Education Innovation.

For more information, please contact Renata Nyul at 617-373-7424 or at

About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university’s distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit