Springfield, Ohio — Lanty Smith, Wittenberg University class of 1964, has held a wide range of leadership positions in his professional career. He has accepted perhaps his greatest challenge with a recent appointment as the interim chief executive officer (CEO) of Wachovia Corp., the fourth largest financial services company in the United States.
Smith, who has served on the Wachovia board for more than 20 years and has been the company's lead independent director since 2000, became chairman in May and then was appointed interim CEO on June 2 after former Chairman and CEO Ken Thompson retired at the request of the board of directors. All of the company's staff functions now report to Smith, who will also head the search committee for a new chairman and CEO.
"Wachovia is a strong institution and well positioned even in the face of the unprecedented conditions in the financial services industry," Smith said in a company news release. "The board is confident that we are putting in place the right interim leadership to move the company forward, and no other senior management changes are currently contemplated."
Wachovia last reported assets of $808.9 billion and a market capitalization of $53.8 billion on March 31, 2008. The company provides retail banking and brokerage, asset and wealth management, and corporate and investment banking products and services to customers through 3,300 retail financial centers in 21 states and more than 40 international offices, and nationwide retail brokerage, mortgage lending and auto finance businesses. Retail brokerage operations under the Wachovia Securities brand name manage more than $1.1 trillion in client assets through 1,500 offices nationwide.
Smith is founder, president and CEO of Tippet Capital, an investment and merchant banking firm headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. He also co-founded The Greenwood Group Inc., which operates the largest franchise worldwide of Manpower Temporary Services, and MediWave Star Technology Inc., a cardiovascular research and diagnostics company. In 2007, Smith founded Scion NeuroStim LLC, a medical device development company, and he chairs the board of Precision Fabrics Group, a leading manufacturer of high-technology, specification textile products.
Additionally, Smith, who majored in mathematics at Wittenberg and graduated with honors, served on the Wittenberg Board of Directors from 1989-91 and established the prestigious full-tuition Ellen and Lloyd Smith Scholars program in 2001 at his alma mater. He was honored at Wittenberg's 2007 Homecoming with the university's most prestigious recognition, the Class of 1914 Award, given to an individual from the university community who has served Wittenberg above and beyond what might be expected of any contributor to the college's welfare.
"We in the Wittenberg family are very proud of Lanty Smith," said Wittenberg University President Mark H. Erickson. "He has been a great supporter of the university and a wonderful mentor to our students. He truly embodies the values and character of this place."
Smith continues to serve on a number of other boards at Duke University, where he earned his law degree with honors prior to becoming a partner with the law firm of Jones Day. He later joined Burlington Industries Inc., where he served as executive vice president and senior general counsel prior to being named president in 1986.
Active in his community, including serving as director of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, Smith also founded the Piedmont Angel Network and continues to serve on advisory committees for Triad Health Project, the Central North Carolina Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis Society and Reading Connections. Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized repeatedly, including receiving the Americanism Award from the Anti-Defamation League and the Greensboro Outstanding Community Service Award.
Written By: Ryan Maurer