Local Deutsche Bank official to run Mercantile trust unit

Preston to help revitalize wealth-management team

April 13, 2002|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

Top Deutsche Bank executive Margaret Preston is leaving the company after nearly two decades to run the private-wealth-management unit of Mercantile Bankshares Corp., Mercantile confirmed yesterday.

"Margaret is a superb professional, and will add significantly to our ability to provide leading investment and wealth-management services to our clients," said Wallace Mathai-Davis, the new chairman of wealth management for Baltimore-based Mercantile.

Preston, 44, is a Harvard Business School alumna and investment industry veteran whose roles have ranged from securities analyst to chief operating officer, and has a proven record of building businesses along the way.

The move, effective early next month, will keep Preston in Baltimore, where she said she would remain a trustee of the Alex. Brown & Sons Charitable Foundation.

The foundation expects to have $12 million in assets even after giving away nearly half its $21 million in holdings - a decision undertaken recently after it became clear that parent company Deutsche Bank would do away with the Alex. Brown name.

Alex. Brown, whose Baltimore roots reach back about two centuries, was acquired by Bankers Trust Corp. in 1997. After Deutsche Bank bought Bankers Trust 1999, it ultimately opted to all but eliminate the Alex. Brown name in a move to unify its worldwide brand identity.

Although the changes made by Deutsche Bank helped touch off an exodus of executives, Preston finally decided to leave only because of the opportunity she was offered by Mercantile, both sides said.

While she's known Mathai-Davis since the middle part of the 1990s, Preston more recently met Mercantile President and Chief Executive Officer Edward J. "Ned" Kelly III.

Potential leaders

Kelly hired Mathai-Davis earlier this year to boost growth in Mercantile's moribund wealth-management business, and the two executives have since then been adding executives to the management team of that subsidiary.

As soon as the two executives began to think about potential leaders for the private-client part of that business, "we both thought of Margaret," Mathai-Davis said.

"I knew her from Alex. Brown," Mathai-Davis said. "When Ned mentioned her name to me, I was delighted to hear she was still in town."

In her new position, Preston will be responsible for the bank's trust department; for advisers assigned to wealthy clients; for new business development; for private custody accounts, and for remote offices.

Those are areas in which Mercantile is looking to buttress existing businesses or build new ones. Preston views it as an opportunity tailor-made for her.

"I'm very pleased that I will be able to join a newly forming organization that's within an established institution," she said.

Preston currently is chief operating officer for Deutsche Bank's Private Client Asset Management Division, responsible for technology; the integration of the bank's Scudder Zurich Investments acquisition; risk management; and expense management.

Global Private Bank

Before that, she was chief financial officer of the bank's Global Private Bank, which also dealt with wealthy clients.

Other posts have included chief operating officer of U.S. investment banking, treasurer of Alex. Brown Inc. and assistant to the chief financial officer.

She also was a founder and director of the Alex. Brown Environmental Industry Group, a research and investment banking team that built an entire business around the environmental services sector.

Prior to joining Alex. Brown in July 1983, Preston worked at Salomon Brothers Inc., where she was involved in equity research and investment banking.

She is married to T. Michael Preston, executive director of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, the state medical society.

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