Krongard unclear on future after CIA

Replaced as No. 3 official, former Alex. Brown chief's plans on hold until surgery

October 06, 2004|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, the former Baltimore investment banker who was replaced in a shake-up last week as the Central Intelligence Agency's No. 3 official, said yesterday that his professional future remains unclear.

Krongard, who had been the agency's executive director since March 2001, will undergo back surgery this month and plans to make a decision on what he will do next after he recovers.

"I have got to get through that first," said Krongard, 67, the former chairman and chief executive of Alex. Brown Inc. "It will give me some time to sort out what I want to do. Until I sort this out, there is nothing I will entertain."

New Director of Central Intelligence Porter J. Goss told Krongard on Thursday that he was being replaced but asked him "to stay involved in the intelligence community," although nothing specific was mentioned, Krongard said yesterday. He declined Goss' offer.

Michael V. Kostiw, Goss' choice to replace Krongard as CIA executive director, withdrew Monday from consideration for the post because of questions about his resignation from the agency more than 20 years ago.

Kostiw, a House Intelligence Committee staff member and former lobbyist at ChevronTexaco Corp., reportedly resigned from the CIA under pressure in connection with a shoplifting case in the early 1980s. He said Monday that he would still serve as a senior adviser to Goss, a former Republican congressman from Florida who was sworn in Sept. 24.

Yesterday, Krongard said in an interview from his Baltimore County home that he has had "a lot of interesting phone calls," but he declined to elaborate further on them.

When asked if he had been approached by the FBI, Krongard declined to comment.

"I have a lot of regard for the head of the FBI," Krongard said, referring to the bureau's director, Robert S. Mueller III.

A spokesman for the FBI declined to comment.

Krongard, known for punching a great white shark in the jaw and for his martial arts expertise, surprised many in Baltimore's business community when he left Alex. Brown in February 1998 to join the CIA as counselor to then-Director George J. Tenet.

His departure came just five months after he helped engineer the sale of Alex. Brown, the nation's oldest investment banking company, to Bankers Trust New York Corp. for $2.5 billion. Bankers Trust was later sold, and little remains of the old Alex. Brown.

Krongard gave up millions of dollars to work for the CIA. In his last full year at Alex. Brown, he made more than $4 million in salary and bonus.

Krongard said he was not surprised when Goss replaced him. "I knew it was coming," he said.

Mayo A. Shattuck III, Constellation Energy Group's chairman and chief executive, and the former president of Alex. Brown under Krongard, said he doubts his former boss will sit still for too long.

"I would not be surprised to see him back in action relatively soon," Shattuck said.

Sun national staff writer Laura Sullivan contributed to this article.

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