Wright named CFO of Legg Mason unit She's among the brass recently departed from BT Alex. Brown

Executive suite

November 21, 1998|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Beverly L. Wright, the longtime chief financial officer of BT Alex. Brown, will join a subsidiary of Legg Mason Inc.

Wright, who announced her resignation from Alex. Brown last month, will be chief financial officer of brokerage and money management firm Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. beginning Monday.

Six of the top 11 Alex. Brown executives have left since the company was acquired by New York's Bankers Trust Corp. in September 1997.

"It's a most positive event for Legg Mason to get a professional such as Bev Wright. She brings a most impressive set of credentials and experience to Legg Mason," said Michael Flanagan, an independent analyst at Philadelphia's Financial Service Analytics Inc. who has followed both Alex. Brown and Legg Mason.

"She oversaw the financials of one of the fastest growing and most successful investment banking firms in the business while she was at Alex. Brown," Flanagan added. "Bev was charged with not only governing Alex. Brown's growth from a financial point of view, but also with controlling expenses in a highly volatile industry."

Wright, who received her graduate degree from Harvard University's School of Business Administration in 1974, had been Alex. Brown's chief financial officer since it went public in 1986. She could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The transition follows that of Robert F. Price, a former BT Alex. Brown general counsel and managing director who joins Legg Mason as a senior vice president this month.

Raymond A. "Chip" Mason, chairman and chief executive of Legg Mason, said the company was about four months into a search to fill the Wood Walker position when Wright called to say she would be leaving BT Alex. Brown.

"She said that if we had a role for her she would be interested in discussing it, so we did," Mason said. She was offered the job within the last two weeks, he said.

"She performed splendidly for Alex. Brown as CFO of the entire company and she would be recognized in the industry for her outstanding ability in that area," Mason said.

F. Barry Bilson, who last month was promoted from vice president of finance to senior vice president, will focus on strategic planning and report directly to Mason.

"His primary duty will be working for me in corporate activities, principally mergers and acquisitions," Mason said. "His secondary activity will include mutual fund accounting and all relations with stockholders and our institutional holders. Bev will take over the operating roles of accounting."

Bilson said he's looking forward to the change.

"I'm quite excited," he said. "It's an opportunity to deal with some of the corporate-level things and not so much with the day-to-day dimensions."

Legg Mason's net income rose 12 percent in its second quarter (( to $21.7 million with $247.6 million in revenue. The three months ended Sept. 30 followed five consecutive quarters of record earnings.

Pub Date: 11/21/98

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