Signet vice president named president of Baltimore Bancorp

November 07, 1991|By Timothy J. Mullaney

Baltimore Bancorp named a Signet Bank/Maryland executive as its president yesterday, as the new board of directors that ousted the company's old leadership in a proxy fight this summer continued to put its team in place.

Officials at Signet confirmed that Alan M. Leberknight, 49, Signet's executive vice president for Maryland commercial banking, had resigned his post at that bank.

"He's somebody I'm familiar with, and many people on the board are familiar with," said Baltimore Bancorp Chairman Edwin F. Hale Sr. "He comes with a great deal of commercial banking experience."

Mr. Hale said that Mr. Leberknight has not been promised the chief executive's job down the road. When the company's current CEO, Charles H. "Buck" Whittum Jr., took the job in September, he said that he would stay for a year or two while a new board of directors decides whether to try to sell the bank or bTC to try to turn around its low earnings and loan problems and find a younger executive to run the company for the long term.

"We've not, since I've been here, had a long line of suitors trying to get in the door," Mr. Hale said. "We've taken the course of action that we're going to try to work out the remaining problems at the bank."

Mr. Leberknight has worked with Mr. Whittum before; in 1981, Mr. Whittum hired him at Union Trust Bank of Maryland, which merged with the Bank of Virginia in 1985 to form Signet Banking Corp.

Mr. Whittum, who left Signet after the merger, came out of retirement this year to join Mr. Hale in a bid to gain control of Baltimore Bancorp, parent company of the Bank of Baltimore.

"I think the Bank of Baltimore made a good choice," H. Victor Rieger Jr., an executive vice president at Signet, said. He said Mr. Leberknight is respected for his ability to train subordinates, a pressing issue for an executive going to a bank whose lending staff is seen as needing improvement. "He started his career as a schoolteacher, and that comes across loud and clear. If you want to take a bank that needs sprucing up with people, he's a good one to get."

Mr. Rieger said that his former colleague, a resident of Baldwin has been active as a youth-league soccer and baseball coach. He is a graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and holds an MBA from Loyola College.

Mr. Leberknight replaces John C. Haigh, 62, a holdover from the regime of former CEO Harry L. Robinson. Baltimore Bancorp said that Mr. Haigh took early retirement.

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