NEW YORK -- In a move orchestrated by David Rockefeller and hailed by business leaders, Mayor David Dinkins on Monday named Chicago banker Barry Sullivan as his deputy mayor for finance and economic development.
Sullivan, a Bronx native who served more than a decade as chief executive officer and chairman of the First Chicago Corp. and First National Bank of Chicago, replaces Sally Hernandez-Pinero.
She stepped down last month to become head of the city Housing Authority in the wake of the resignation of Laura Blackburne.
Sullivan will be donating his $112,000-a-year deputy mayor's salary to charity, a move made possible because he is being kept on retainer by First Chicago to the tune of $780,000-a-year for the next three years.
Sullivan, 61, said the retainer is part of his retirement agreement inked last fall and presented to First Chicago shareholders earlier this month.
But he did have to clear it with the city Conflicts of Interest Board, which signed off only on the understanding that he will remove himselffrom any dealings with the city on behalf of First Chicago.
'If there's even a hint of possible conflict of interest I'll be (excusing)myself and not involving myself at all,' he said.
First Chicago conducts what Sullivan described as a 'small amount of business' with the city as one of 22 co-managers in the capital bond underwriting group.
Dinkins said he was 'thrilled' that Sullivan, who has advised the last four Chicago mayors, was joining his administration.
Asked how the idea evolved, Sullivan explained that he tendered his resignation from First Chicago Jan. 1 and the very next day had breakfast with Rockefeller, who asked him if he was interested in taking Pinero's place.
Pinero already had informed the mayor she was interested in a less demanding post, but Rockefeller was acting on his own, as the mayor had not asked him to approach Sullivan about the job.
'He's an excellent businessman, he's a good manager, he's a good salesman,' said Rockefeller, who joined Dinkins and a score of prominent business leaders to welcome Sullivan to City Hall.
'I'm delighted to be back in my home town helping to promote economic development at a crucial time in its history,' said Sullivan. 'I'm back home for good.'
A self-described liberal Republican, Sullivan began his career in 1957 at Rockfeller's Chase Manhatan Bank, rising through the ranks to become an executive vice president and member of the management committee by the time he left in 1980.
A basketball star at Georgetown University in the early 1950s, he said he saw his new job as a mixture of playing defense and offense -- trying to keep companies from leaving while at the same time trying to encourage the growth of small and medium-sized businesses.
Sullivan said it is an uphill battle, however, compounded by the loss of federal aid.
He said development seemed to work on 'automatic pilot' in the city during the 1980s but that has proven to be 'illusory' during the 1990s, which he called 'not a kinder and gentler decade by any means.'
Sullivan said he will not start his new job until May 1 to give him time to complete a major study of Chicago's Board of Education.