Originally created 09/22/04

Wachovia director moves to Georgia Bank



Prominent Augusta banker and community leader Robert Osborne is joining Georgia Bank & Trust Co.'s executive management team.

Mr. Osborne, currently Wachovia Corp.'s managing director for wealth management in Augusta, will become Georgia Bank & Trust's executive vice president in charge of private asset management, effective Monday.

Mr. Osborne is ending a 29-year relationship with Wachovia.

The 53-year-old banker, whose current employer is planning to merge with SouthTrust Corp., said he decided to join the Augusta-based bank because of its stability in the market.

"My family has just fallen in love with Augusta and doesn't want to move," said Mr. Osborne, who came to the city from Atlanta in 1997 after Wachovia appointed him city president. "I've had a great career here, but this gives me the chance to make sure I stay here."

Dan Blanton, Georgia Bank & Trust's president and CEO and a close friend of Mr. Osborne, said he approached him with the opportunity after the Wachovia-SouthTrust merger was announced in June.

As he did at Wachovia, Mr. Osborne will be in charge of services for Georgia Bank & Trust's wealthy clients, including investments, wills, trusts and insurance.

"Robert is going to bring a level of expertise that we have not had before in the private banking business," Mr. Blanton said.

As executive vice president, Mr. Osborne will report directly to Mr. Blanton.

Mr. Osborne served as Wachovia's head of Augusta retail banking until its 2001 merger with First Union. He was then replaced by First Union City President Paul Menk. Mr. Menk was promoted in April and was replaced by Jeff Spears, a former senior vice president of Bank of America.

Mr. Osborne, who has spent the past three years helping manage Wachovia's billion-dollar-plus private banking business, said he is ready to help strengthen Georgia Bank & Trust's services to high-net-worth clients.

"I think we'll be able to meet the regional bank's model of wealth management and exceed what other community banks are offering," Mr. Osborne said.

Mr. Osborne and his wife, Cam, have four children. The Orangeburg, S.C., native spent 20 years in Atlanta with Wachovia, which was then operated as First Atlanta Corp. There he served as manager of the government banking and public finance division.

He is active with the United Way of the CSRA and is a board member of the Richmond County Development Authority, Augusta Tomorrow and the Augusta Museum of History.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.