Washington People: U.S. Open champion Serena Williams may be a merciless singles opponent, but as Chase Manhattan Corp. president William B. Harrison Jr. found out recently, she's a fabulous doubles partner.
After Ms. Williams defeated Martina Hingis on Sept. 11, Mr. Harrison handed the champ her trophy before a global television audience. Normally, such exchanges are anticlimactic: gray-haired, patrician corporate sponsor hands trophy to buoyant, youthful athlete. Little warmth is swapped.
But Mr. Harrison got the surprise of his life when Ms. Williams spoke up to praise Chase Manhattan for sponsoring a free summer tennis camp for low-income New York City girls.
"It's so exciting to have so many aces, but it's even cooler that Chase donates $50 for every ace to a girls' tennis program," said Ms. Williams, who had 62 aces in the tournament. "It gives me even more motivation to hit more aces."
Chris Lewis' last day as senior adviser to the comptroller of the currency is Friday. He joins San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corp. next week as vice president for federal government and community affairs.
Mr. Lewis will be reunited with a former boss, Konrad S. Alt, who was hired by the embattled credit card issuer in July as senior vice president and chief public policy officer. Mr. Alt had been the comptroller's chief of staff until 1996.
Mr. Alt said that Mr. Lewis, a former Consumer Federation of America lobbyist, will be the company's liaison to national consumer and community groups, which have criticized Providian's fees on its cards.
After five years in the Comptroller's Office he was ready for a change, Mr. Lewis said, and he jumped at the chance to move to the West Coast and work with Mr. Alt. Mr. Lewis said his departure is amicable and denied speculation that he is leaving because of his involvement in a controversy this year over the use of national bank examiners in political activities.
Since January, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm has bashed the Comptroller's Office for enlisting examiners to help the Clinton administration compile a list of bankers who would defend the Community Reinvestment Act.
According to a Senate Banking report released last week, Mr. Lewis asked other OCC officials to help develop a list of at least 10 names, and then they solicited the help of examiners.
When an examiner at a large bank asked whether this was for political reasons, Mr. Lewis responded: "Yes, the request is related to congressional activity. I think we want to generally shoot for the most senior CRA-responsible person in institutions. And, if possible, I think that we want to avoid notice to the bank. I am, personally, not wholly comfortable with the request. But the comptroller would like us to be responsive to the (Treasury) Department request."
That raised the possibility that Comptroller John D. Hawke Jr. knew about the use of examiners, but Mr. Lewis told Senate Banking that the remark was a general one and that he had not informed Mr. Hawke about the name gathering until it was nearly over.
Speaking of Mr. Hawke and Sen. Gramm, Senate Banking will at long last hold a confirmation hearing Thursday on the comptroller's appointment to a five-year term. Mr. Hawke has served since last December on a recess appointment. The committee will also consider several other pending nominations, including Federal Reserve Board Governor Roger Ferguson's promotion to vice chairman and Armando Falcon as director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.
Former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin said last week that he will become chairman of Local Initiatives Support Corp., a New York-based nonprofit that feeds money to community development corporations nationwide.
"I want to continue my long-term involvement in promoting improved living conditions, economic growth, and private-sector job creation in the distressed urban and rural areas of our country," Mr. Rubin said.
The organization channeled $605 million to depressed areas last year.
James E. Scott starts today as a partner with the Venable, Baetjer, Howard & Civiletti law firm. Mr. Scott's experience includes both banks and the government.
For the last four years he has been a managing director and counsel at Bankers Trust Co. Prior to that he was a senior counsel with Bank of America and its predecessor, Security Pacific National Bank.
He did two stints at the Federal Reserve Board, from 1973 to 1977 and from 1983 to 1987.
Mr. Scott joins Venable's financial services group, which is led by Ronald R. Glancz.
"It's a real coup for us," Mr. Glancz said. "Now we can compete with the bigger firms in mergers and acquisition and bank holding company work." Venable's forte of late has been helping nonbanks charter thrifts.
Ellen Lamb is leaving the Conference of State Bank Supervisors after 12 years with the group, most recently as its senior vice president of communications.
She is moving to Los Angeles; her last day at the group is tentatively set for Oct. 15.
The move has been on her mind for a while, but the decision was sealed after a monthlong vacation there this summer.
"I tried to get a feel for what it would be like to live there," she said. "After a couple weeks I felt like I already did."
Ms. Lamb does not have a job lined up, but she said she expects to handle public or investor relations for a financial institution.