2 top executives to keep jobs at Baltimore Bancorp

September 13, 1994|By David Conn | David Conn,Sun Staff Writer

In a show of support for local management, the New Jersey company that has agreed to buy Baltimore Bancorp said yesterday that it plans to retain two of the company's top executives.

Joseph A. Cicero, 50, who for two years was Baltimore Bancorp's executive vice president and chief financial officer, will stay on as vice chairman and chief operating officer. And Alan M. Leberknight, 52, the president of the company since 1992, will be president and chief commercial banking officer.

"We're very appreciative that Joe and Al have decided to stay and help us expand our presence in the important Maryland market," said Joseph Terracciano, chairman and chief executive of First Fidelity Bancorp., the Lawrenceville, N.J., company that agreed in March to acquire Baltimore Bancorp.

Mr. Terracciano will be chairman and chief executive of the subsidiary as well, but the company said day-to-day management will remain in Baltimore.

First Fidelity will pay $346 million, or $20.75 a share, for the parent of The Bank of Baltimore. Baltimore Bancorp, which has $2.2 billion in assets and 41 branches, has tentatively scheduled a shareholders' meeting in November to vote on the takeover.

First Fidelity, meanwhile, has taken further steps toward building a Maryland presence. In June, it acquired four branches of the John Hanson Federal Savings Bank, which had been under the control of the federal Resolution Trust Corp. The branches -- in Beltsville, Laurel, Rockville and Bel Air -- will be integrated into The Bank of Baltimore once the acquisition is completed, First Fidelity said.

Mr. Cicero joined Baltimore Bancorp in January 1992, after leaving Perpetual Savings Bank and its parent company, Perpetual Financial Corp., in Vienna, Va. Before that he spent 13 years at Baltimore-based Equitable Bancorporation, which now is part of NationsBank Corp.

Mr. Leberknight spent more than 10 years at Signet Bank/Maryland and its predecessor, the Union Trust Co. of Maryland, before joining Baltimore Bancorp in November 1991.

Edwin F. Hale Sr., outgoing chairman of Baltimore Bancorp, said First Fidelity's decisions about Mr. Cicero and Mr. Leberknight send a positive message about the company's plans.

"Both are excellent executives who were key players in the bank's successful turnaround," Mr. Hale said. "This is a powerful signal to our friends and customers here in Baltimore that local leadership will have authority to do business in an aggressive, responsive manner."

Mr. Hale has not said what he intends to do next, other than spend more time with his trucking and barge companies. He acknowledged he has talked with several local banking companies about making a large investment.

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