Hebb plans to return to banking unit

December 19, 1990|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Evening Sun Staff

The wave of change at the top of Baltimore's financial institutions has continued with the announcement that Donald B. Hebb Jr., president of Alex. Brown Inc., will leave that position early next year to return to the company's investment banking division.

Hebb's departure from that position follows the sudden retirements in recent months of Alan P. Hoblitzell Jr., head of MNC Financial Inc., and Jack Moseley, chairman, chief executive officer and president of USF&G Corp.

But, unlike those executives, Hebb will continue with the company and work to bring in more business.

Hebb, 48, said his move is not connected with the downturn in the company's fortunes, but rather he wants to return to investment banking. "I've done it [as president] for as long a period as I would like," he said.

"Although participation in the management of the firm has been a rewarding and satisfying undertaking where I feel much has been accomplished, increasingly my interests lie with serving the firm's clients more directly," Hebb said in a prepared statement.

Yesterday's announcement of Hebb new assignment comes about two weeks after Alex. Brown terminated 34 workers, or about 2 percent of its 1,750-employee national work force.

The layoffs were primarily among analysts, investment banking employees and their support personnel. A few stock traders also were involved.

For the third quarter, the Baltimore investment firm reported losing $3.1 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with a net income of $6.3 million, or 38 cents a share, in the 1989 third quarter.

An exact date has not been set for Hebb to step down as president, but he expects to do so in February or March. The decision was made now because the company is making plans for the coming year, he said.

Hebb received $929,907 in 1989 and was the top-paid officer at Alex. Brown, according to the company's proxy statement for its last annual meeting.

Until May, Hebb also had been chief executive officer of the 190-year-old company. Hebb at that time dropped the title of CEO, and a management committee consisting of Alex. Brown chairman Benjamin H. Griswold, chief operating officer A.B. Krongard and Hebb had operated as a collective chief executive officer, Krongard said.

Griswold and Krongard will continue to be responsible for the overall performance of the firm, according to a news release.

To replace Hebb, the company has formed a special committee of directors to search for a new chief executive officer. The chairman of the committee is Rodman L. Drake and the other members are Thomas C. Barry, Steven Muller and Andre W. Brewster.

Hebb has spent his entire professional life at Alex. Brown, starting in 1970 in the investment banking division. He has held a variety of positions, including those of vice president, general partner and managing partner. He is to continue to be a managing partner in his new position.

He has an undergraduate degree from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, along with degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. He is a native of Butler, in Baltimore County.

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