Author, Author!

John Allison, who plans to retire as the chief executive of BB&T Corp. at yearend, is already planning his second act.Mr. Allison, who has been at the helm of the Winston-Salem, N.C., company for nearly two decades, said in an interview Wednesday that he plans to write two books.

The first would examine the values associated with effective leadership, building on an internal guide he wrote for BB&T, and the second would examine the evolution of the U.S. financial system.

"I think I possess a unique capacity to integrate the practical and theoretical applications to explain why certain actions yield certain results," he said. Mr. Allison, 60, has long been interested in philosophy, participating in annual retreats to study the topic.

The top executive, who also plans to retire as BB&T's chairman at the end of next year, wants to devote more time to the company's charitable foundation, which, among other things, funds curriculums at universities in the Southeast.

The curriculums largely focus on the writings of Ayn Rand, an advocate of individualism and laissez-faire capitalism.

"I think it is important that we defend free markets from an ethical perspective," Mr. Allison said. "If we don't do that, the risk is that we'll have excessive regulation."

The capitalism studies have drawn criticism as corporate interference in academics but Mr. Allison said the BB&T foundation only introduces the program after an invitation from a professor. "We'd never invest in a program if no one wanted to teach it," he said, adding, "This resistance is coming from the left wing in academia that doesn't want pro-capitalism taught in universities."

Security Emphasis

Bank of the West says it is taking security more seriously than ever — and it has reached beyond banking to prove it.The San Francisco bank said Tuesday that it had hired Joseph L. Ford, a former associate deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for the newly created post of chief security officer.

Mr. Ford will be responsible for running an integrated security structure for the BancWest Corp. unit. Based in San Francisco Mr. Ford will coordinate with business and operating units throughout the $63 billion-asset bank's footprint in the West and Midwest.

"I'm extremely pleased to have Joe overseeing our bank's security operations. … He is a true asset," Vanessa Washington, Bank of the West's general counsel, said in a press release.

Mr. Ford spent more than 30 years at the FBI. As an associate deputy director, he managing the bureau's personnel, budget, administration, and infrastructure. He retired from its San Francisco office in 2006 and has worked as a security consultant since then.

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