Magazine article American Banker

Giannini Daughter Quits Adviser Post at Bank America

Magazine article American Banker

Giannini Daughter Quits Adviser Post at Bank America

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The daughter of Bank of America's founder resigned her honorary membership on the firm's board of directors on Thursday to protest the proposed sale and leaseback of the company's headquarters building in San Francisco.

Claire Giannini Hoffman, daughter of the late A.P. Giannini, was opposed to the proposed sale and leaseback of the BankAmerica World Headquarters building, which includes a bust of her father, as well as a plaza named on his honor.

Mr. Giannini founded the company in 1904.

Ms. Hoffman, 80 called the proposed sale "an appalling decision, truly unpardonable," adding that the idea is "just the latest item in a sad chronology of corporate myopia and thoughtlessness."

The latter comment was a reference to the company's involvement in a widening mortgage securities scandal that rocked the retail banking giant into a $95 million chareoff last quarter.

Ms. Hoffman succeeded her father on the bank's board of directors in 1949, was appointed an honorary director of the bank in 1975, and of the holding company in 1981.

She said the bank has continued to "stray further and further from the policies and practices that were such a vital part of my father's leadership: clear thinking [and] a willingness to place the human needs of ordinary people above private ambition."

She added: "I have watched the growth of the absurd fiction that the 'new realities' of our time are incompatible with the old-fachioned moral convictions of the past; that advanced technology has eliminated the personal relationship between the bank and its customers; [and] that people as demographic abstractions -- rather than as individuals with private needs and expectations -- should be at the center of corporate policy. …

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