Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

After 41 Years, McColl Crosses Finish Line

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

After 41 Years, McColl Crosses Finish Line

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Barker-Benfield, Times-Union business writer

Hugh McColl Jr., who reshaped the nation's banking landscape, officially retired last week as chairman and chief executive officer at an emotional Bank of America annual meeting of shareholders in Charlotte, N.C.

During his 18 years as CEO, McColl took the old North Carolina National Bank -- NCNB -- which had $12 billion in assets and 7,600 employees and transformed it through a series acquisitions into one with $642 billion in assets, $364 billion in deposits, $33 billion in revenue and 143,000 employees.

"Immodestly, we can, in fact, claim to have built the first nationwide coast-to-coast franchise, stretching across the best markets in the United States," said McColl in his prepared remarks.

"We do business with a third of the nation's population and most of its businesses. We have more customers, more banking centers, more ATMs and, most important, more capital than anyone else in the country."

The last couple of years as chairman had not been easy for him, McColl said, as his company, then known as NationsBank, absorbed the old California-based Bank of America. The California deal followed on the heels of the acquisition of Jacksonville-based Barnett Banks Inc.

The period reminded him of the time he ran a 15K race in Jacksonville in the early 1980s, said McColl.

"As I crossed the fifth bridge in the race with about a mile to go, I passed a teammate who was down and another crouched over him asking me to stop and help. At that point, I had nothing left -- only pain -- and I ran by my teammate and on to the finish line, where I collapsed," said McColl

"As I reflect on my career, I see great parallels," said McColl.

"We have run a long and hard race over these last 41 years, building a great company with a great team. The sprint to the finish line, however, has been extremely difficult," said McColl.

"The company has doubled in size thrice in 12 years -- more than doubling itself in the last four years. It had a great toll, both physically and emotionally," said McColl.

In its most recent earnings report, the bank said its profits dropped 16. …

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