D'Alessandro, David F. 1951-

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D'ALESSANDRO, David F. 1951-
(David Francis D'Alessandro)


Born January 6, 1951, in Utica, NY; son of Dominick Vincent and Rosemary D'Alessandro; married; wife's name Jeannette; children: three, including Michael, Andrew. Education: Utica College of Syracuse University, B.S., 1972.


Daniel J. Edelman Inc., account supervisor, 1972-74; Control Data Corp., information programs manager, 1974-77, commercial manager of data services, 1977-79; Citibank Commercial Services, assistant vice president, 1979-80, general manager of commercial credit, 1980-84; Muir, Cornelius, Moorecq, marketing representative, 1980; John Hancock Financial Services, Boston, MA, vice president for communications and marketing, 1984-85, senior vice president, 1985-88, president of corporate sector and member of management committee, 1988-91, executive vice president of retail sector, 1991-96, president and CEO, 1996-2001, chairperson, CEO, and president, 2001-04; Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, president and COO, 2004, chair of advisory board and member, board of directors, 2004—.


Marketer of the year award, 1986, from Ad Week; named one of the 100 most powerful people in sports, 2002, by Sporting News.


(With Michele Owens) Brand Warfare: Ten Rules for Building the Killer Brand, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Michele Owens) Career Warfare: Ten Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2004.


David F. D'Alessandro's first book, Brand Warfare: Ten Rules for Building the Killer Brand, was the culmination of his career in public relations and as the high-profile chief executive officer of John Hancock Financial Services during its expansion in the 1990s. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called the book "practical, psychologically astute and clearly written." In the book, D'Alessandro exposes how many companies often sacrifice the long-term image of a brand in favor of short-term gains. In his estimation, every person in a company should feel invested in protecting the brand. Toward this end, he is explicit about what to do when scandal strikes: do not cover-up, do not lie, do not engage in long drawn-out legal battles. To do so may mean the death of the company, and thus the brand. Stonewalling does not work, D'Alessandro advises, and so corporate lawyers and finance executives should be prevented from executing their style of damage control when a crisis arises. Other topics the author addresses include sports sponsorships, which the author notes can be both extremely rewarding and dangerous to manage, given the scandalous nature of certain sports and professional athletes. Writing in Financial Services Marketing, Lee Conrad noted that "while some of D'Alessandro's anecdotal evidence is amusing, the book falls short of giving detailed branding advice," but Brand Warfare is "a highly personal narrative … [that] offers savvy advice," wrote Jeffrey Marshall in Financial Executive.

In his second book, Career Warfare: Ten Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting toKeep It, D'Alessandro offers practical tips for getting ahead in the business world. It is not enough to dress well and get your job done, he writes. Constructing a good reputation requires the ability to work with enemies and to make one's bosses look good. He also stresses the importance of acting professionally both on the job and off, which includes putting oneself above office politics and exhibiting good behavior in one's personal life. However, he does admit that getting to the top often requires a bit of ruthlessness. Above all, the author examines why companies are not rational, and why success is rarely achieved in a rational manner. Along the way, D'Alessandro offers anecdotes from his own career, including the time he vomited on an executive during a business meeting. A writer for Publishers Weekly praised the book as "entertaining and bluntly honest," and William J. Holstein, writing in the New York Times, commented that "the book offers a refreshing message of humanity from someone who has fought many corporate wars."



Financial Executive, November, 2001, Jeffrey Marshall, review of Brand Warfare: Ten Rules for Building the Killer Brand, p. 16.

Financial Services Marketing, July-August, 2001, Lee Conrad, review of Brand Warfare, p. 5.

Insurance Journal, June 14, 2004, "John Hancock CEO Announces Retirement."

Latin Trade, May, 2004, Andres Hernandez Alende, review of Career Warfare: Ten Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It, p. 70.

New York Times, July 4, 2001, Kurt Eichenwald, review of Brand Warfare; December 28, 2003, William J. Holstein, review of Career Warfare.

Publishers Weekly, April 30, 2001, review of Brand Warfare, p. 72; January 19, 2004, review of Career Warfare. *