Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has named Mississippi banker William R. Gottshall as his new chief of staff.

The president and chief executive of $130 million-asset First National Bank, Oxford, Miss., received a call "out of the blue" last month from Sen. Lott, an old college buddy.

Although Mr. Gottshall has little political experience, he said his banking expertise will help.

"You can't be real political and be CEO of a small community bank," Mr. Gottshall said. "But my mission will be similar; the chief of staff's primary goal is to serve his constituency and a banker serves his customers."

Between Mr. Gottshall and staffer Robert Wilkie, who handles banking issues for the Mississippi Republican, the lawmaker should have a firm grip on industry concerns.

"I think the two of us together can give Sen. Lott a fine perspective of what is going on in the banking world," said Mr. Gottshall, who is also a state director for the Independent Bankers Association of America.

Mr. Gottshall will succeed John Lundy, who is returning to Mississippi to join the law firm Watkins, Ludlam & Stennis.

Think of it as the chairman at his best.

Esquire, the magazine about "Man at His Best," has included Alan Greenspan on a list of The 100 Best People in the World. The Fed chairman shares the honor with a crowd that includes rocker Iggy Pop, "unabrother" David Kaczynski, and cartoon character Homer Simpson.

Douglas E. Harris, former derivatives guru for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, has landed a job as a treasury risk-management partner at Arthur Andersen LLP in New York.

Mr. Harris will be advising banks on their risk- management operations. "I had wanted to be doing this kind of work at a bank, but this is the next best thing," he said.

Mr. Harris resigned as senior deputy comptroller for capital markets in June 1996. In the interim he had been doing consulting work for Paloma Partners, a Greenwich, Conn., hedge fund.

Vacation schmoozing turned into a Tunisian junket for Bankers Roundtable lobbyist Alfred Pollard.

Mr. Pollard joined several other U.S. executives this week on a trade mission sponsored by Tunis-based African Markets Co. He is scheduled to return to Washington today.

"We have officials from a variety of industries - I'm supposed to be financial services," Mr. Pollard said before the trip. He was invited on the trip by the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce.

He met officials from the chamber when he first visited Tunisia in May. "When I'm vacationing overseas, I like to meet for a day with some of the country's banking industry executives," he said.

At a luncheon hosted by finance ministry officials, Mr. Pollard was surprised when he was asked for a presentation. Doing his best to overcome language difficulties, he gave an impromptu talk on foreign currency convertibility - half in English and half in French.

Another trade group official is talking banking in foreign lands.

Larry P. LaRocco, managing director of the ABA Securities Association, was scheduled to address the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Services in Jordan on Sunday. His speech was to cover changes in the financial services marketplace.

On Wednesday, he flies to Bahrain to give the keynote address at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance. Despite turmoil in the Middle East, Mr. LaRocco said the State Department and U.S. embassies in each country have assured him that travel in the region is not dangerous for Americans.

"I'll feel fairly safe," Mr. LaRocco said Friday.

Cathy E. Minehan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, was tapped to become chairwoman of the Financial Services Policy Committee, effective Jan. 1. She succeeds Thomas C. Melzer, who is retiring Feb. 1 as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The policy committee oversees the Fed's priced-services operation, such as Fed Wire and check clearing.

The Federal Reserve Board's two newest members made their public debut last week. At a public meeting on the Fed's budget, Governor Roger W. Ferguson asked a half-dozen questions about how the Fed came up with its cost estimates. Governor Edward M. Gramlich asked about a Fed program to employ 10 former welfare recipients. Both eventually voted for the two- year, $352.3 million budget.

William Lang has been named director of the OCC's special studies unit.

In the newly created role, the former OCC economist will analyze public policy issues arising from emerging technologies in the banking industry. Before joining the agency in 1994, Mr. Lang was an economics professor at Rutgers University.

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