Former Bell Aliant executive Frank Fagan is Newfoundland and Labrador's 13th Lieutenant Governor.

On Tuesday, Fagan took the oath of office in the house of assembly, which was packed with politicians and community leaders.

Fagan spent 40 years with the province's telephone company, rising through the ranks to become COO, before retiring in 2008. Fagan has served on boards of a number of charitable foundations, and is also a member of the Order of Canada.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Premier Kathy Dunderdale praised Fagan as a man of great humility who will reach out to the people.

"I believe that you bring this down-to-earth, heart-felt concern for people and [a] connection with them, and I am anticipating great things as you take on your new role," said the Premier.

In his acceptance speech, Fagan spoke of his and his wife Pat's roots in the community, and their commitment to helping others.

He told those gathered that he's lived in the province his entire life.  

"Except for the past year, where Pat and I spent our last year with our youngest son, Dr. Richard Fagan, who unsuccessfully battled cancer … this is very difficult," said an emotional Fagan. He hadn't finished his speech when unanimous applause erupted in the legislature. Richard Fagan had just graduated from medical school when he died in Calgary in 2012.

'Man of the people'

Many who attended the ceremony said they were affected by Fagan's words.

"He has shared his life and I feel so humbled that we have such an honourable person," said attendee Syed Pirzada. 

Health minister Susan Sullivan said Fagan will be a man of the people.

"I think that we will see him reach out and touch people in a way that others have not," said Sullivan. 

St. John's Roman Catholic archbishop Martin Currie was also in attendance. He used the comparison of Pope Francis as a man of the people — to Fagan.

"You know, this morning I was watching the installation of the Holy Father, a man of the poor, a man of the people," said Currie. "And when I listened to our new Lieutenant Governor, I heard the same kind of response — a man of the people, a man concerned for those who are most in need."