• Title: Executive vice president, head of technology and operations, Bank One. Adams, who had been with First Union Corp., joins Bank One's executive management team.
  • Goals: Despite First Union's overall problems, it has been a leader in quickly integrating the operating systems of banks it has acquired. Adams plans to do the same for Bank One. The bank began consolidating seven different demand deposit systems at the end of last year. "My highest and most immediate priority," Adams says, "is to get those recent conversions done. Adams, 57, says he plans to have the conversions completed within the next two years.
  • Vision: Adams wants to get Bank One fully prepared for the future. "There will be future consolidations in the industry," he says, and when that happens he wants Bank One to be technologically prepared to be an acquirer. He doesn't expect the takeover process to begin in the very near future.
    Adams expects the consolidation will "occur primarily at the upper-end" of the industry, but has yet to see a bank expand at a "healthy" rate. "The question in the marketplace now is, 'has there been a player that's proven in a nationwide retail/commercial banking environment that can make the numbers work from a shareholder's perspective?' That's yet to be proven." Austin says he wants Bank One to be the player to watch. "Can a bank like Bank One expand significantly and meet shareholder's objectives? I believe so, but now we need to prove it."
  • Tech issues: Adams says a big issue is whether to develop one's own software or depend on outside technologies. "The software company wants to develop products and get them on the market as quickly as possible," Adams says. Austin says his "bias" lies with off-the-shelf software that can be modified.
  • Background: Adams has been in banking 28 years and most recently was executive vice president of the automation and operations group at First Union. He was responsible for overseeing operations and information technology, as well as banking support services. Adams became First Union's head of technology in 1985 following its merger with Northwestern Financial Corp., where he began his banking career in 1973.

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