Long on accolades, but short on words

Hugh McColl, never one to mince words, didn't waste any at an awards luncheon Thursday.

McColl, who nurtured Bank of America into a financial behemoth, was honored by the Charlotte Regional Partnership for his contributions to the local economy. But first, he had to endure some good-natured ribbing from Jerry Richardson, another driving force in Charlotte's rise to becoming a major business center.

Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, spoke about longtime pal McColl to the crowd gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center's ballroom: “He has got more confidence than anybody I know,” Richardson said. “He is convinced that we are going to win the Super Bowl this year.”

The audience was quiet. “You were supposed to laugh at that! That was a joke!”

McColl, who was teased about his height by Richardson and by a video created in his honor, didn't linger on stage. “I won't take very long,” McColl said as he stepped to the microphone amid a standing ovation.

Three sentences was all he needed, acknowledging Richardson's jabs first: “I know I'm not as tall as he is, but I heard that drinking red wine would make you live longer, and I got a huge head start on that last night,” he said. “Maybe it will make you grow, too. Thank y'all very much.”

McColl retired as chief executive of Bank of America in 2001 and launched the McColl Partners investment bank.

The Charlotte Regional Partnership also honored the Lincoln Economic Development Association, which in the past year has helped lure companies to Lincoln County.