Managing director Bankers Trust New York Corp.

As Bankers Trust Co's top official in Europe, Rodney McLauchlan, 39, is -- quite literally -- a man on the move.

"I spend as much as 40% to 50% of my time on the road," trying to expand the bank's base of corporate and sovereign clients, says Mr. McLauchlan, whose territory also includes the Middle East and Africa.

The continent-hopping banker has worked out of the London offices of Bankers Trust International PLC since 1989, Early last year, he was named chairman of BTI, a largely ceremonial title.

A more telling sign of Mr. McLauchlan's stature within Bankers Trust is his membership on the bank's business council, an adjunct of the policy-making management committee.

Mr. McLauchlan was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, the son of British father and Viennese mother. His paternal grandfather was an engineer who helped build Brazil's railroads.

After earning a bachelor's degree in economics at Federal University in Rio, Mr. McLauchlan worked briefly as a part-time trainee at Brazil's Banco Itau while he applied to graduate school.

His boss and mentor at Itau, a family friend, steered him to the Wharton School in Philadelphia.

By the time he received his graduate degree in 1978, Brazil was a hot banking market, making Mr. McLauchlan a prime candidate to join Bankers Trust's Latin America group.

For his part, Mr. McLauchlan said he felt Bankers Trust offered more upside potential than other banks, because it was just then emerging from problems stemming from real estate investment trusts.

Within a year, Mr. McLauchlan was asked to join a new corporate finance department, formed in 1979.

"I'm really glad I made that decision," Mr. McLauchlan says. "It really helped me out."

Indeed, he quickly rose through the ranks from banking assistant, to associate, to vice president. Then, in 1987, Mr. McLauchlan was elevated to managing director and head of Bankers Trust's Midwest operations.

He was told to expect to spend five to 10 years in the Chicago-based post, but less than three years later he was sent to London, where he expects to stay for some time to come.

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