Provident Bankshares names Geisel president

He also is named top operating officer

3 others promoted

January 10, 2001|By Julie Bell | Julie Bell,SUN STAFF

Provident Bankshares Corp. said yesterday that it has named Gary N. Geisel president and chief operating officer, dismantling a structure that in essence had Geisel and two other executives sharing the No. 2 position at the Baltimore bank holding company and its principal subsidiary, Provident Bank.

John F. Novak and Richard J. Oppitz Jr., the other two executives, were appointed executive vice presidents of Provident Bank.

As members of the Office of the Chairman, all three executives reported to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter M. Martin.

Chief Financial Officer Dennis A. Starliper was also given the additional title of bank executive vice president. Martin, Geisel, Novak, Oppitz and Starliper will serve as the bank's executive team.

"It's a very logical change for future management succession," said David M. West, an analyst at Davenport & Co., adding that the elevation of Geisel was no surprise. "That clears up any question marks with regard to succession if Peter Martin retires."

Geisel, 52, who has more than 30 years in banking, joined Provident in 1997 as group manager of community banking.

During that year, he directed Provident's $120.8 million acquisition of Citizens Savings Bank in Montgomery County, the linchpin in a strategy to expand into the Washington suburbs.

Geisel was promoted in 1999 to the three-member Office of the Chairman, which is responsible for corporate strategy and management of all Provident staff, operations and business units.

The office has led to such strategic fine-tunings as farming out mortgage loan originations to another company and selling a network of eight check-cashing locations.

Collyn Bement Gilbert, a banking analyst with Ferris, Baker Watts Inc. in Baltimore, noted that key indications of Provident's performance, including return on assets, are improving.

"We have high hopes for them in 2001," Gilbert said.

"Clearly, expansion is on our mind," Geisel said yesterday about the company's plans for the year. "We're trying to migrate the successful business strategies [used in the Baltimore area] to a more regional focus."

Provident, with more than $5 billion in assets, has branches in the Baltimore area and the Washington suburbs, including Northern Virginia. Its 98 locations include two in southern Pennsylvania.

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