Barnett Banks Inc. has hired a former Fidelity Investments executive to run its rapidly expanding brokerage unit.
Robert K. MacKenzie was named president and chief executive of Barnett Securities Inc., the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company announced Monday. Until a few weeks ago, Mr. MacKenzie had run Fidelity Brokerage Services Inc., where he expanded the mutual fund giant's network of storefront offices from 45 to 79.
"My key focus will be to create a culture and environment that develops around the customer's needs," Mr. MacKenzie said.
Right now, Barnett has 175 brokers who work in 36 securities offices across Florida. But the company plans to more than double its sales force, to 400 or 500 brokers by 1998, Mr. MacKenzie said.
He said he plans to train more bank employees to get full-service brokerage credentials. He hopes that half of his full-time brokerage recruits will come from the bank's ranks, with the rest recruited from other brokerages.
Barnett has moved swiftly in recent months to realign its investment businesses to cater to specific customer segments and to find executives to oversee penetration of those segments. Mr. MacKenzie's brokers will focus on middle-market retail customers.
Last December, Barnett named Rebecca Allen to run its trust company and to head the company's private client services, a sales force that caters to the wealthy. Both Ms. Allen and Mr. MacKenzie report to Barnett's asset management chief, Richard H. Jones, another former Fidelity executive.
At a conference in Washington this week, Mr. Jones said he was close to hiring another executive to promote Barnett's corporate and institutional investment business.