Bank Watch

BofA event honors McColl for leadership in the arts

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, center, speaks at the grand opening of the Founders Room in Founders Hall. Former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr., right, was honored for his contributions to the arts and Gov. Pat McCrory, left, also spoke.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, center, speaks at the grand opening of the Founders Room in Founders Hall. Former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr., right, was honored for his contributions to the arts and Gov. Pat McCrory, left, also spoke. mhames@charlotteobserver.com

Former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr. was honored Tuesday night at an event organized by the bank to recognize McColl’s role in supporting the arts in Charlotte.

“Charlotte would not be the city it is today, and North Carolina would not be the state (it is) today, unless we had a lot of the visionary leaders that we have in this room, including Hugh McColl,” Gov. Pat McCrory told a room of business and political leaders gathered in Founders Hall, which is connected to the lender’s headquarters tower at Trade and Tryon streets.

The Charlotte-based bank honored McColl in the space once occupied by menswear retailer Jos. A. Bank, which left the space in 2010. On Tuesday, Bank of America announced that the lender plans to lease that space to the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center for $1 a year for a minimum of five years.

The nonprofit will use the space, now called Founders Room, for receptions and other private events and will pay its own utility costs, according to Blumenthal.

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told the room that the arts are crucial to communities. According to the bank, the lender and its employees have made about $3 million in arts and cultural charitable contributions to Charlotte so far this year.

“As I travel the world ... it’s clear you do realize that cities are created by their arts community, because they give a fabric to the city, which bounces off its business community, off its political community, off its charitable community,” Moynihan said. “It’s been remarkable watching this city continue to grow.”

McColl’s Thrive Fund has been among his initiatives to support the arts in Charlotte. Launched in 2013 by McColl to support the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the philanthropic group’s mission has been broadened to support Charlotte museums and performing groups.

McColl, noting that Bank of America has donated millions of dollars to Thrive, praised the bank for being “very, very supportive of everything important in the city over the last four or five years.” Moynihan became CEO in 2010.

McCrory said Charlotte needs to “seat” the next generation of leaders with the kind of vision that McColl, 80, had.

“Now I think our challenge (for) all of us is we need to start searching for the next generations of leaders who have the same vision and foresight to continue to make Charlotte and North Carolina great places to live, work and play,” McCrory said.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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