At 71, Bobby Cox just signed up for a challenge that may be more daunting than managing the Braves from worst to first. Cox is the new chairman of Adairsville-based NorthSide Bank, which has performance numbers way below what he would have tolerated from any of his former players.
The small community bank, with $129 million in assets and three branches, has been a victim of the real estate crash, struggling with serious losses and a lack of capital to cover them. It’s been under a regulatory order for more than three years to improve its condition, highlighted by losses of $3.2 million in 2008, $4.7 million in 2009, $1.2 million in 2010 and $501,000 last year.
Cox never thought he’d be dealing with such numbers when he became one of the original investors and board members in 2005. In his new role as chairman, he thinks he can help attract the capital to give the bank more breathing room as it tries to turn around. Cox said the bank is close to raising $2.3 million in capital and expects to post a profit of between $600,000 and $700,000 this year. He talks about what he learned in baseball that can translate to the business world.
Q: It’s not easy to be successful year after year. The Braves won an unprecedented 14 straight division titles while you were the manager. What’s the lesson for business leaders?
A: You’re right. It is difficult. When you set the bar really, really high, it’s hard to maintain it.
You can’t let complacency set in. I used to tell our guys in spring training that we can’t live off of last year. We have to keep on going as hard as we can. The people at the top have to keep tweaking the business or the ball club — adding because other businesses or clubs are adding.
I know people in the business world who run their businesses sort of like a baseball team. You have your lead-off guy and the guy who can knock the ball out of the park — different roles. I kept it as simple as I could so people could understand it.
Also, we built a solid foundation [of talent] for the long-term. And we got lucky. All plans are not successful.
Posted: August 25, 2012 at 03:44 PM | 14 comment(s)
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