BAI appoints Deborah Bianucci president and CEO; James McNeil named COO

Source: BAI

BAI, a leading professional services organization in the financial services industry, announced today that its Board of Directors has named Deborah L. Bianucci as its new president and chief executive officer and a member of the BAI Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Bianucci, 48, has been BAI's executive director of marketing and sales. She succeeds Thomas P. Johnson, Jr. who announced his plans last year to retire by the end of 2005. The Board also named James M. McNeil to the newly created position of chief operating officer. McNeil, 47, has been BAI's executive director of content development and delivery.

"We are pleased to announce such a strong executive leadership team," said John D. Lewis, vice chairman of Comerica Incorporated and chairman of BAI's Board of Directors. "We met a number of strong candidates during our extensive search process and we are convinced that Debbie is the right person to lead BAI's efforts as CEO to serve the dynamic information and education needs of a quickly evolving financial services industry. Together, Debbie and Jim provide the leadership needed to position BAI for continued growth."

"I have had the opportunity to work closely with Debbie over the past eight years and she is uniquely suited to lead BAI in her new role as CEO," Johnson said. "Her extensive experience in the financial services industry and her knowledge of our business prepare her well for the challenges of leading such a dynamic and growing organization." Johnson added that McNeil is one of BAI's most talented professionals. "I am confident that Jim's contributions as COO will play a major role in BAI's future success."

Bianucci said that BAI's position as a premier provider of research, education and training in the financial services industry will become even stronger in the coming years. "Under Tom Johnson's leadership, BAI has established a solid foundation for continued growth. Tom has been an exceptional chief executive for our organization, having formed an outstanding team of professionals who are committed to excellence in serving our customers," Bianucci said. "BAI will continue to lead the industry in conferences and research and we have become the leading provider of training to the industry through our recent acquisition of Bankers Training and Certification Center."

After seven years in marketing and product management positions with Norwest Corporation, Bianucci joined BAI in 1985 as a research manager in trust and retail banking. She held a number of positions during her next six years at BAI including Group Executive - Banking Services, the position she held before leaving the organization in 1991 to seek broader financial services experience.

Bianucci spent the next five years in senior sales and marketing positions with Dean Witter Discover & Co. and Crestar Bank and returned to BAI in 1996 as executive director of marketing and sales. She is a 1978 graduate of the Drake University School of Journalism in Des Moines, Iowa, where she received a B.A. degree in advertising and public relations and a master's degree in business administration.

As chief operating officer, McNeil will assume executive responsibility for all of BAI's major lines of business including conferences, seminars, graduate schools, training & certification, strategic research, benchmarking, employee research and publishing. He will play a major role in leading product development, marketing, sales and fulfillment throughout all of these businesses.

After seven years with the William C. Brown Communications Group, McNeil joined BAI in 1988 as group publisher with overall responsibility for BAI's book publishing business. When BAI exited the book publishing business in 1991, McNeil was selected as the executive to run the spin-off by Probus Publishing, the company that acquired the business.

When Probus was acquired by The Times Mirror Company, McNeil was named Group Publisher to run the newly created division. He returned to BAI in 1997 and has held executive positions in BAI's delivery and content groups since then. McNeil is a graduate of Iowa State University in Ames, where he received a B.A. degree in marketing, journalism and graphic design. He is also a 1998 graduate of the Kellogg Management Institute, at Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

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