Westport finance board selects retired global financial executive to fill vacancy

The Westport Board of Finance chose resident Nancie Dupier to fill the board's vacancy left by the departure of John Hartwell from town.
The Westport Board of Finance chose resident Nancie Dupier to fill the board's vacancy left by the departure of John Hartwell from town.

WESTPORT — Town’s Board of Finance has added a new member, resident Nancie Dupier, a former global executive in finance.

Dupier is set to fill the vacancy left by former Democratic Board of Finance (BOF) member John Hartwell, who recently moved from town with his wife, Janet Hartwell, who retired last month as head of school at Greens Farms Academy.

“I now have the time available and would love to participate in a community I have tremendous respect for,” Dupier said. A graduate of Vassar College, Dupier retired in 2012 as Chief Executive Officer for the South Asia region at HSBC Private Bank. Throughout her career, Dupier worked for multiple financial firms, lived in the US, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and built expertise in global investment markets, emerging markets, private banking and asset management.

She moved to Westport from Madrid with her family in 1991 and planned to stay only one year, but took a family vote after the year and the clan decided to stay. While her two older children were out of high school by the time the family moved to Westport, the younger three graduated from the Westport school system and benefited from the hard work and decisions of the BOF years ago, Dupier said, adding, “I would love to help make decisions to give other families the chance mine had.”

On May 3, Dupier switched her voter registration from unaffiliated to Democrat, according to the registrar of voters.

Because Hartwell was a Democrat, the Democratic Town Committee (DTC) was charged with vetting candidates for the open seat.

“We were lucky enough to get about a dozen applicants, which is actually quite a lot historically,” DTC Chairman Ellen Lautenberg said.

BOF Chair Brian Stern, a Democrat, said the applicant pool was outstanding.

“I’ve never seen people coming out with such credentials for this job,” he said. The DTC nominating committee, headed by Andrew Nevas, reviewed a dozen applicants and endorsed Dupier but sent the top three candidates — Mohamed Abdelsadek, Jeff Hammer, and Dupier, to the BOF to make the final decision.

“The nominating committee felt she was the best fit for the Board of Finance, but it was a close call,” Lautenberg said. “Because they all have great financial backgrounds it’s hard to differentiate from their work experience, but the committee particularly liked that she said the numbers are a part of the decision-making process, but that the decisions should also be guided by the town’s values and goal.”

Stern concurred.

“She loves Westport and that was very clear and for me, the most important thing,” he said, adding the board plans to officially appoint Dupier to the vacancy at its Aug. 1 meeting. If Dupier wants to remain on the BOF past the expiration of Hartwell’s term, she will have to run for election to a full-term in November.

Dupier will join fellow Democrats Stern, Lee Caney, and Sheri Gordon on the BOF in addition to Republican members Andrea Moore, Michael Rea, and James Westphal.

Her experience not only creating and leading businesses but being accountable for the success of those businesses has prepared her for work on the BOF, Dupier said, adding of all the positions she’s held, she’s most excited about her role on the BOF. When asked what her guiding philosophy for decision-making on the BOF will be, Dupier said, “Listen carefully, do the homework, consider the risks, and make sure all of the constituencies have been considered.”

svaughan@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1