Community leaders praise Hoblitzell for civic work


An indication of the impact Alan P. Hoblitzell Jr. had on some of the people and organizations he worked with came from the United Way of Central Maryland yesterday.

Upon the announcement that Mr. Hoblitzell was resigning from MNC Financial Inc., the group released an unsolicited statement praising his work and calling him "the epitome of a community leader."

That the United Way went out of its way to comment is even more impressive given that Mr. Hoblitzell is no longer involved with the charity.

His term as co-chairman of the United Way campaign -- in which he helped raise a record $31 million during MNC's merger with Equitable Bancorporation and during his wife's pregnancy -- ended last year.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr. Hoblitzell said he has no immediate plans, other than to continue serving on the board of MNC Financial and the other regional companies he serves as director, and working with civic groups and charities that still want his help.

"I don't have something specific lined up," he said. "I think I'll just kind of catch my breath for a while."

He said he did not negotiate a "golden parachute" pension agreement with the banking company, but it's unlikely Mr. Hoblitzell will need cash or a new job immediately.

Even at MNC's depressed stock price, his nearly 260,000 shares, owned and optioned, are worth about $1.65 million. Last year, he earned almost $950,000 in salary and other cash compensation.

Mr. Hoblitzell said his resignation was his own decision and did not come at the request of Alfred Lerner, MNC's biggest shareholder and, as of yesterday, its new chairman and chief executive officer.

Mr. Hoblitzell said that as he "reflected on what had been occurring and the past and looked at" himself and the talents he brought to the Bank, he felt his abilities were best suited to directing the company's growth in the last decade.

"I would say that I was very much of a hands-off manager," he said, one who "gave a great deal of authority down through the institution and tried to promote an entrepreneurial spirit."

That management style, he indicated, might not be in the bank's best interest now that the company's fortunes have declined.

"The environment has changed dramatically. The industry is going through a contraction, the needs are changing, and I thought somebody else might be better positioned to lead the bank through the [new] challenges."

Mr. Hoblitzell was born in St. Louis and attended Baltimore's Gilman School, where he played lacrosse with H. Furlong Baldwin, now chairman of Mercantile Bankshares Corp.

A Princeton University graduate, Mr. Hoblitzell joined what was then Maryland Trust Co. in 1956 as a management trainee. Except for a time out in the mid-1960s to earn a master of business administration degree from Harvard University, he stayed with Maryland National for his entire career.

His involvement in community activities -- from the United Way to the Greater Baltimore Committee, the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, the Maryland Institute, the Municipal Arts Society and the Pride of Baltimore -- shows that "he's more than a name on a sheet of paper," said Arnold Kleiner, general manager of WMAR-TV and a skiing buddy of Mr. Hoblitzell and his wife, Louise.

"He doesn't just lend his name to a [project]; he's a doer."

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