Hale says he withdrew bid to run St. Joe Florida realty giant names Rummell chief


Baltimore shipping executive and banker Edwin F. Hale Sr. said yesterday that he had dropped out of the running to head a Jacksonville-based real estate concern that is Florida's largest private landowner.

St. Joe Corp., once a big paper manufacturer, named Peter Rummell, a top executive with Walt Disney Co., as its chairman and chief executive yesterday.

Rummell was hired to redirect the company, which has about $500 million in cash to invest any way he and St. Joe's board of directors see fit.

St. Joe, which owns 1.2 million acres in Florida, is in the process of a restructuring that includes the sale of its paper, railroad and telecommunications businesses.

Its shares gained $10.625, or nearly 17 percent, to close at $73.25 on the news of Rummell's appointment.

"It's a very positive move," said James Schmitt, an analyst at Westcountry Financial.

"The fact that the stock's up that much gives you an idea of what the market thinks," Schmitt said.

Hale, who is chairman of Hale Intermodal Transport Co., a Canton-based trucking and barge company, and First Mariner Bancorp, was in the running for the job in August.

But he dropped out as a candidate in early November, about a month and a half before First Mariner raised $15.6 million in an initial public offering, Hale said.

"I told them that I was going to go public and I would have to take my name out of the running," Hale said.

Robert Beatty, managing partner with Curtiss Group International, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based executive search firm hired by St. Joe, said Hale "probably would not have ended up a finalist anyway," if he had kept his name in as a candidate.

"We ended up going for a more financially oriented, more corporate profile," Beatty said.

Pub Date: 1/09/97

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