• 64°

Harrison retires as longest serving superintendent

SPECIAL TO THE JOURNAL:

Ending 11 years and 44 days as Alabama’s Superintendent of Banks, John D. Harrison is set to retire today following a 36 year career in banking.

A native of Selma, Harrison was in the timber business before entering the banking industry. He moved to Luverne in 1968 and owned Glenwood Woodyard. As a local businessman, he was an organizing director in 1980 of the First Citizens Bank in Luverne where he was later named president and CEO in 1983. Harrison joined the new administration of Gov. Bob Riley in 2003 as head of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and was subsequently named Alabama’s Superintendent of Banks in May of 2005. Serving the state of Alabama under both Gov. Bob Riley as well as Gov. Robert Bentley is an honor and privilege Harrison cherishes.

However, clearly at heart, Harrison is a banker and a man who is known for his willingness to work hard and help others. Just as in his days in the bank, Harrison is often at work before sunrise and continues to be a tireless leader for Alabama’s banking industry. Bankers and directors across the state readily admit that Harrison’s leadership was particularly helpful during the financial crisis.

ABA’s Scott Latham describes Harrison as “a hero,” and a man who will be written about in the history books as a visionary and a man for the people. “John has been such a strong advocate for not only Alabama banks and the people behind them, he is a believer in communities and in providing opportunities for others to grow and prosper. He is one of the most giving and caring people I’ve ever met, and he works hard helping others succeed.”

Perhaps the perspective of ABA Chairman William Petrey, president and CEO of First Citizens Bank in Luverne, sums it up best. Petrey has known Harrison since his childhood, recalling Harrison “as a coach right beside us on the bench,” a mentor, and a friend to many. “It has been an honor and pleasure to work with and for John Harrison. He has done a great job for Alabama banks, and he will be missed by a lot of people,” Petrey said.

ABA will host a reception honoring Harrison and his wife, Barbara, on Thursday evening, Aug. 11 in conjunction with its CEO, Executive Management & Directors Conference in Point Clear.

Gov. Bentley is expected to name a successor to Harrison in the coming weeks.