Magazine article American Banker

First American Gives Reins to Master of Turnarounds

Magazine article American Banker

First American Gives Reins to Master of Turnarounds

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- George L. Davis, named president and chief executive officer last week at embattled First American Bankshares Inc., sees the post as the latest of many turnaround opportunities in his career.

"I've had a fair amount of experience in trouble situations," said the 57-year-old veteran of Citicorp and First Chicago Corp. "Difficulty doesn't bother me."

The troubles at Washington's largest banking company, with $9 billion in deposits and 200 branches, stem from the area's real-estate-driven economic downturn and from connections with scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Image of a Pawn

Since the summer, First American has been working to shake its image as a pawn of Luxembourg-based BCCI, which the Federal Reserve Board found to have been in violation of U.S. banking laws through a secret shareholding in First American.

BCCI was closed in July when regulators in several countries alleged a massive international fraud.

Mr. Davis said he was trying to drum up work as a strategic consultant for troubled banks when he asked First American chairman Nicholas deB. Katzenbach to hire him last August. Mr. Katzenbach had succeeded Washing lawyer Clark Clifford at the helm of First American.

"I came down and knocked on Katzenbach's door and said I thought I could help," Mr. Davis told reporters last week. "A lot of the things I've done have been fairly difficult assignments that were not bread and butter."

Consultants Line Up

Mr. …

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