Olympic effort gets a leader Banker Morton heads area's bid for 2012 Summer Games

July 16, 1998|By June Arney and Shanon D. Murray | June Arney and Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

John Morton III, the new president of NationsBank Corp. Mid-Atlantic Banking Group, has been named chairman of the board of directors for the Washington/Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition, which is bidding on the future Summer Olympics.

Morton will be a volunteer heading the group that is behind the region's bid for the 2012 Summer Games.

"The principal job of the chairman is to keep the board focused on winning the bid," he said. "Every decision we make will have to be regionally oriented."

The other members of that board are: Mary E. Junck, president of Times Mirror Co.'s Eastern newspapers, which include The Sun, vice president and vice chair person; Robert Flanagan, vice president of Clark Enterprises Inc., an umbrella company controlled by Bethesda-based construction magnate A. James Clark, vice president.

Robert J. O'Leary, general manager of global public affairs for Mobil Corp., was named vice president. John Schwieters, managing partner with Arthur Andersen LLP in Washington, will be treasurer; and George Stamas, a managing partner with the Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering law firm in Washington will be secretary.

Morton's return to the Baltimore area couldn't have happened at a better time, his associates in the Washington/Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition said.

As president of NationsBank Corp.'s Mid-Atlantic Banking Group, Morton, 54, coordinates the bank's efforts in Maryland, Washington and Virginia.

He is a graduate of the Naval Academy and was a lieutenant aboard a nuclear submarine.

Besides Morton's business skills, his employer made him an attractive candidate for chairman, said Ioanna Morfessis, president and chief executive of the Greater Baltimore Alliance, a regional marketing and economic development group that supports the Olympic bid.

"NationsBank was one of the strongest leaders in Atlanta's Olympic effort," Morfessis said. "As a corporation, it is committed to the Olympic movement. Because it has recent expertise in hosting an Olympic event, its involvement with the 2012 Coalition is really critical."

NationsBank expressed interest in a local bid early. R. Eugene Taylor, the man Morton is replacing as president of the bank's mid-Atlantic division, was involved in forming Baltimore's bid for the Olympics.

"This is such a tremendous opportunity for the Washington-Baltimore region that it's worthwhile of NationsBank's support," Morton said. "The impact on the communities where international sporting events are held are just incredibly positive.

"It raises the pride of the citizens that live there. It brings visibility to the community from the whole world. And there's a tremendous economic impact in terms of jobs and revenue and the development of infrastructure that has a lifetime of usage," Morton said.

Morton developed ties to the region's business community during his 17-year stint with Maryland National Bank, which was acquired by NationsBank Corp.

After an eight-year absence, he returned in February when he was named president of the bank's mid-Atlantic group.

Morton spent the bulk of his financial career at Maryland National, then developed a reputation in the industry as a turnaround artist before signing up with NationsBank in 1997.

At Maryland National during the 1980s, he was an executive vice president and led the bank's Washington Suburban Banking division.

In the 1990s, he twice worked with troubled thrifts, turned them around and engineered their sales. He served as chairman and chief executive first at Perpetual Financial Corp. in Vienna, Va., and then at Farm & Home Financial in Kansas City, Mo.

Before being named to his current position at NationsBank, Morton was president of its Private Client Group. Before that, Morton was chairman, chief executive and president of Boatmen's National Bank of St. Louis, which NationsBank bought.

"He's an outstanding executive with extensive Maryland roots, and we are incredibly fortunate to have someone of his caliber," said Stamas.

"At the end of the day, this effort will rise or fall on the level of active community spirit that can be developed. If we can all bring the enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism of John to the effort, we will succeed."

Pub Date: 7/16/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.