John Simmons to leave RIPEC

John Simmons (right), president and CEO of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, talks with Douglas Hall during a taping of WPRI's Newsmakers.

John Simmons (right), president and CEO of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, talks with Douglas Hall during a taping of WPRI’s Newsmakers.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – After more than a decade of advising governors, legislators, business leaders and other community groups, John Simmons of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council is leaving at the end of the year.

Simmons, who became president and CEO in 2008, said he’s retiring from RIPEC to try and create better balance between his professional and personal lives. But he’s not retiring from work altogether.

“I’ve got some things I’ll be working on that I’m not quite ready to announce yet,” he said. “I’ll be around.”

Simmons is well-known around the R.I. State House and among the nonprofit and business communities, as he’s long helped lawmakers evaluate government initiatives and public policy over the years.

Before joining RIPEC, a public policy and finance research nonprofit, Simmons held various high-profile finance jobs in the public sector, including administration chief in Providence, chief finance officer in Boston and deputy general treasurer for Rhode Island.

During his tenure at RIPEC, Simmons is largely credited for helping move forward various initiatives, including the re-organization of the R.I. Commerce Corp., securing financing for school rebuilding and – most recently – ushering change to Rhode Island’s public education curriculum and governance.

“John Simmons has been RIPEC’s voice at the State House and beyond advocating for reforms to improve curriculum and institute statewide standards,” said Johnson & Wales university Chancellor Mim Runey, who serves as the chair of RIPEC’s board. “His thoughtful analysis in the areas of education and economic development have helped draft legislation that will impact Rhode Island for years to come.”

RIPEC has already formed a search committee made up of several well-known members of the business community to find Simmon’s replacement, according to a press release. Its members include Hinkley Allen partner Patrick Rogers, Amica president and CEO Robert DiMuccio, retired FM Global CEO Shivan Subramaniam and Bryant University President Ronald Machtley, who also plans to retire next year.  

Simmons, who also plans to help with the selection process, said he’s looking forward to what comes next.

“It’s time for me to do something else,” he said. “New direction is always good.”  

Eli Sherman ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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