Cicero, a veteran Hale ally, named president of 1st Mariner Bancorp


First Mariner Bancorp reached into its founder's past yesterday to find a new president and tapped former Bank of Baltimore executive Joseph L. Cicero to take the No. 2 job at the 18-month-old Baltimore community bank.

At First Mariner, Cicero will be president and chief operating officer of the holding company and chief operating officer of First Mariner Bank, its main subsidiary. George Mantakos will remain president of the bank and a director of the holding company.

Cicero became chief financial officer of Baltimore Bancorp, which owned the Bank of Baltimore, after Edwin F. Hale ousted the company's former management in a bitter proxy contest.

Cicero helped Hale guide that bank out of a brush with bankruptcy, and became president of First Fidelity Bancorp.'s Maryland operations after First Fidelity bought Baltimore Bancorp in 1994. But he survived only briefly after First Union Corp. bought First Fidelity.

"I liked him from Day One," Hale said.

Hale wanted Cicero to join First Mariner at its founding, he said, but agreed to a request from First Fidelity executives to leave Cicero at First Fidelity after the merger.

Cicero, a lawyer and accountant, has been in the industry since 1972. He worked for the old Equitable Trust Co. and became chief financial officer of Virginia-based Perpetual Savings Bank, which went broke during the real estate crash that began in 1989.

First Mariner has $110 million in assets, and has filed a registration statement for an initial public offering to raise $19.3 million.

Pub Date: 12/04/96

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