Florence 'Meg' Walsh, 37, treasurer of Lucent Technologies, Hopkins alumna

November 08, 1998|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

Florence L. "Meg" Walsh, a Baltimore native who was one of the architects of telecommunications giant Lucent Technologies, died yesterday of toxic shock syndrome at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey. She was 37 and had given birth a week before to a son, Dixon, who died at birth of the same cause.

At the time of her death, Mrs. Walsh was the treasurer of a company that has 130,000 employees and $30 billion a year in revenues. Since Lucent's formation in 1996 as a spinoff of AT&T, she was responsible for the company's dealings with global capital markets, corporate finance and administration of the more than $50 billion in employee benefit assets and financing of Lucent customers.

A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and granddaughter of Robert H. Roy, a former dean of its G. W. C. Whiting School of Engineering, Mrs. Walsh was chairwoman of the academic affairs committee established by alumni of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Hopkins.

"Meg was a highly regarded player on the Lucent team," said Richard A. McGinn, Lucent's chairman and chief executive. "Her influence went far beyond the scope of her job. Her passing is a severe personal and professional loss."

Kathy Fitzgerald, senior vice president of public relations and investor relations for Lucent, said she can think of no other woman who became the treasurer of a $30 billion-a-year company at age 34: "She was a remarkable woman -- vibrant, spunky, accomplished. Meg was much beloved here."

Besides being involved "in all aspects of the business," she said that Mrs. Walsh was also "a devoted wife and mother." She and her husband of nine years, Citigroup Inc. financial director Mark Walsh, have a 6-year-old son, Carter.

Born in Baltimore, the former Florence Long attended Ruxton Elementary School and Cockeysville Middle School. She then moved with her mother to Gainesville, Fla., where she graduated from Oak Hall School in 1979.

She received a bachelor of arts degree from Hopkins in 1984 and her master's in business administration at the Wharton School of Business in 1988. Before enrolling in business school, she was a junior equity analyst at T. Rowe Price Associates in Baltimore.

Jerome Schnydman, executive assistant to the president at Hopkins and secretary to its board of trustees, said he remembers interviewing her and admitting her when he was director of undergraduate admissions at Hopkins.

"She was a very bright woman who was active at Hopkins and continued to be a terrific citizen and alumna of the university," he said. "She was a doer, and she was very devoted to Hopkins."

From 1989 to 1994, Mrs. Walsh held several financial positions with General Motors Corp. in New York. In 1994, she joined AT&T as assistant treasurer for corporate finance.

While in that post, she worked on the formation of Lucent, including creation of the company's capital structure and its initial public offering.

A resident of Bernardsville, N.J., Mrs. Walsh also served on the Chase Manhattan National Advisory Board and was a board member of the New Jersey Battered Women's Shelter and the Philharmonic of New Jersey. She previously was a director of LIN Broadcasting and LIN Television in Seattle, as well as Lucent.

In addition to her husband, son and maternal grandfather, survivors include her mother, Mollie Bucy of Baltimore; her father, David P. Long of Crownsville; a brother, David P. Long Jr. of St. Petersburg, Fla.; her maternal grandmother, Florence Roy of Ruxton; and an aunt, Florence Roy Brassier of Spokane.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Bernard's Episcopal Church in Bernardsville.

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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