In a world filled with headlines about CEO's and executives running their companies to the ground, and holding lavish parties and getaways on taxpayer funded bailouts, here is a refreshingly touching story of one very different individual.
Leonard Abess Jr., CEO of City National Bank in Florida, sold 83% of his stake in the bank to a Spanish company, and then used the proceeds to reward his very own employees.
At a time when bankers are being pilloried on Capitol Hill as heartless and greedy, Leonard Abess Jr. stands apart.
After selling his bank for a fortune last fall, he quietly handed out $60 million in bonuses from his own pocket — and not just to top executives. In all, 471 employees and retirees, including tellers, clerks and secretaries, were rewarded, receiving an average of about $127,000 each.
"I think everybody was surprised. But knowing Leonard, the type of person he is, I can believe him giving it away," said retiree William Perry, who spent 43 years at City National Bank of Florida, rising from janitor to vice president. Perry, 78, got $50,000, which he is using to help his son pay for law school.
For his generosity and humility, Abess was singled out for praise by President Barack Obama in his congressional address Tuesday. Abess attended as Obama's guest.
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