LIAM McGEE Executive vice president Security Pacific Corp.

Liam McGee is literally an executive on the move. A little more than a year ago, he was responsible for the southern California branch operations of Wells Fargo & Co. Then Security Pacific Corp. hired him to oversee its entire 640 retail branch system in the Golden State.

But last August, BankAmerica Corp. announced it would acquire Security Pacific. And Mr. McGee, 37, has been tapped to oversee the California branch operations of the combined companies when the merger is completed this year.

The BankAmerica/Security Pacific merger has clearly been a boon to Mr. McGee's career. The number of branches he will oversee will about double. He also will be responsible for consumer financial services, including mutual funds, insurance, and affinity programs.

Mr. McGee declined to be interviewed for this article. But, in an earlier interview, he said he strives to make bank branches as customer-friendly as possible.

"You have to make it simple for the customer to do business with you and make it simple for the employee to sell product," he said.

At BankAmerica, Mr. McGee will see a lot of familiar faces from his old days at Wells. His new boss, Thomas A. Peterson, vice chairman of consumer banking, spent 30 years on the stagecoach. And some of his fellow Security PAcific survivors, including vice chairman-designate Jerry A. Grundhofer, also worked at Wells. Another longtime Wells hand, of course, is BankAmerica chairman and Banker of the Year Richard Rosenberg.

Mr. McGee holds a degree from Loyola Law School, a master's of business administration from Pepperdine University, and a bachelor of arts in biology and psychology from the University of San Diego.

He is known by colleagues as a tough boss who does not suffer fools. "He's a tough taskmaster," said a former colleague at Wells.

Mr. McGee was born in Ireland but grew up in Southern California. He comes by his ambition honestly: His father was a bus driver who rose through the ranks to become a manager of the Southern California Rapid Transit District.

It is still unclear whether Mr. McGee will remain in Los Angeles. A Security Pacific official declined to say whether he will be transferred to BankAmerica's headquarters in San Francisco.

One thing is clear: Mr. McGee is going places.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.