NATIONSBANK CHAIRMAN BENNETT A BROWN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Bennett A. Brown, chairman of NationsBank Corporation (NYSE: NB), today announced he will retire from the company, effective December 31. The announcement was made at the regular meeting of the NationsBank Board of Directors.
Brown, 63, is retiring after a banking career that has spanned 37 years with NationsBank and its predecessor companies, primarily The Citizens and Southern National Bank. Well known throughout the U.S. banking industry, Brown recently completed a term as a director of the International Monetary Conference. He is a recent past president of the Association of Reserve City Bankers and a recent member of the Federal Reserve Advisory Council in Washington, D.C.
"I've been blessed with a career that was more rewarding than I ever could have imagined," said Brown. "With the transition of the former NCNB and C&S/Sovran into NationsBank now complete, it is time to retire. Through the leadership of Hugh McColl and our management team, NationsBank is one of the leading banks in America."
Following the announcement of Brown's retirement, the NationsBank Board of Directors elected Hugh L. McColl Jr. to succeed him as chairman. McColl is president and chief executive officer of NationsBank. He will assume the chairman's title on January 1, 1993.
"Though Bennett has earned his retirement many times over, we still will miss him greatly," said McColl. "Few bankers have contributed so much to the industry, their company and their community as Bennett.
"Bennett's leadership at NationsBank, and earlier at C&S/Sovran, provided an excellent example for us all," McColl continued. "It's no overstatement to say that NationsBank would not have been possible without Bennett's contributions. He has helped establish both a tone and a direction that will serve us well for years to come."
Brown is best known in Atlanta for rescuing C&S, Georgia's largest bank, from the brink of insolvency in the late 1970s, then building it into the nation's 12th-largest banking company. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions from 1985 to 1990, Brown expanded the bank beyond Georgia into seven southeastern states and the District of Columbia.
During the same period, Brown also became one of Atlanta's most respected business leaders. He was president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in 1988, and he served as chairman of the Atlanta Chamber's trade mission to China and Japan in 1986. He is a director of the Metro Atlanta Salvation Army Board and a member of its Board of Visitors. He is a director and president of the Commerce Club, an elder in Atlanta's Peachtree Presbyterian Church and a past trustee of Agnes Scott College.
Brown also played an important role in several downtown Atlanta development projects, including construction of the Georgia Dome. Earlier this year, he paved the way for Georgia State University's (GSU) expansion into the Five Points section of downtown Atlanta by donating the NationsBank Building at 35 Broad Street to be used as GSU's Graduate School of Business Administration.
After a brief period with Chemical Bank in New York and service in the U.S. Army, Brown joined the former Citizens and Southern National Bank in Atlanta in 1955. He headed the C&S Bank of Augusta, Ga., from 1965 to 1971. He became chief executive officer of C&S National Bank and C&S Georgia Corporation in 1978 and chairman of both in 1979, when the company had total assets of $4 billion and 125 offices in Georgia.
At that time, C&S and other Atlanta banks were experiencing loan problems due to an overbuilt real estate market and a slow economy. C&S recorded the only loss in its history in 1978. The company climbed back to profitability after Brown revamped credit policy standards, instituted strict financial controls and rebuilt the bank's capital base.
Known for his team-oriented leadership style, Brown led the bank to record profits during the early 1980s. Through a statewide expansion program, he positioned C&S to become an influential player in the era of interstate banking.
He helped lead legislative battles for regional interstate banking in the Southeast, and in 1985 C&S expanded into Florida with the acquisition of Landmark Banking Corporation. The following year, the company acquired C&S Bank in South Carolina, forming a banking company with assets of more than $19 billion and nearly 500 offices in three states.
In September 1990, C&S merged with Sovran Financial Corporation to form C&S/Sovran and Brown was named chairman and chief executive officer of the $49-billion bank. On December 31, 1991, NCNB Corporation and C&S/Sovran merged to form the country's fourth-largest banking company -- NationsBank -- and Brown was named chairman. Today, NationsBank has $118 billion in assets and 1,776 banking centers in nine states and the