Regional president heading to Fla. Taylor to oversee NationsBank there

Morton his successor

January 30, 1998|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

R. Eugene Taylor, who has led NationsBank Corp.'s efforts in Maryland since the North Carolina-based company bought MNC Financial Inc. in 1993, was named head of the banking conglomerate's burgeoning Florida operation yesterday.

Taylor's successor as president of NationsBank's mid-Atlantic banking group will be John Morton III, who currently heads the company's private client group in St. Louis, directing $70 billion in assets under management on behalf of wealthy clients.

Both moves -- to be effective Monday -- are homecomings of sorts.

Taylor, a Florida native, was president of NationsBank's Florida operations for three years before relocating to Baltimore. Morton, a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, spent 17 years as a commercial lending executive with Maryland National Bank.

"Gene took over in the mid-Atlantic for us after NationsBank acquired Maryland National, and has built a solid team in the northern part of our franchise," said NationsBank President Ken Lewis.

"John has provided excellent leadership in heading our private client group. It is that same leadership and his familiarity with the mid-Atlantic markets that will help us continue the momentum we have built there."

Taylor's imminent departure sent shudders through Baltimore business leaders and philanthropic organizations, though.

"He was a very talented person to come into the community -- in what could have been a very adversarial relationship given the feelings toward Maryland National -- and establish himself as he did," said Colliers Pinkard President Walter D. Pinkard Jr.

Pinkard, who worked with Taylor on the boards of the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Greater Baltimore Alliance, a regional economic development group, said of Taylor: "He's a doer."

"Gene Taylor has been a terrific asset to Baltimore, someone you can count on," said Mary E. Junck, president of Times Mirror Corp.'s Eastern newspaper group, of which The Sun is a part. She and Taylor were among the GBA's founders.

Among his many nonbanking activities, Taylor worked closely with the GBC, helped raise money for the Babe Ruth Museum and served on the board of the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Taylor also has been working to lure the 2012 Olympic games to the Baltimore/Washington region.

"The community needs every corporate leader like Gene Taylor it can get," said Morton I. Rapoport, the medical center's chief executive. "He will be hard to replace."

In Florida, Taylor, 54, will be responsible for more than twice the number of branches and employees as he was here. Including NationsBank's $14.6 billion purchase of Barnett Banks Inc., which was completed Jan. 9, Taylor will be in charge of 1,147 branches, some 30,000 employees and a quarter of NationsBank's $311 billion in assets.

In the mid-Atlantic region, Taylor headed 400 branches and 12,500 employees in Maryland, Washington and Virginia.

"What I'm really proud of is that we took many different companies and created one company that is doing well, which enables us to contribute back to the community," said Taylor, who runs marathons for fun.

"I truly believe we made a difference. I've grown to love Baltimore, so from that respect, this is a sad day for me."

If Morton is saddened by his return to Maryland, he didn't show it yesterday.

"NationsBank is in a dominant position in the mid-Atlantic, and I'm going to focus on growing that business and serving our customers," Morton said, adding that he intends to continue Taylor's charitable work in the community. "I'm really looking forward to getting back."

Pub Date: 1/30/98

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