The Darla Moore School of Business of the University of South Carolina extends its sympathy to the family and friends of William W. “Hootie” Johnson, who served as a founding member of the USC Business Partnership Foundation, and was a major supporter of the Moore School.
“The Moore School has lost one of its founding fathers, and the state of South Carolina has lost one of its greatest business leaders and citizens,” said Moore School Dean Peter Brews. “The contribution Hootie Johnson made to the school is immense by any measure. He was influential in convincing Darla Moore to name the business school, and he endowed the Dewey H. Johnson Chair in Economics in honor of his father. Every day we will continue to be reminded of his contribution as we enter the 500 seat W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall on the Learning Level of our building. He was a man with a quiet, compelling charisma guided by a strong moral compass that insisted serving the greater good was essential to a fulfilled and successful life. He lived according to this philosophy, and expected all he interacted with to do so too. Few individuals have made a more substantial contribution to our school than Hootie Johnson.”
Johnson died Friday, July 14, 2017, at the age of 86. For 21 years, he led Bankers Trust of South Carolina before engineering its merger with NCNB of Charlotte in 1986. That merger, the first interstate merger in South Carolina, resulted in the formation of the Bank of America Corporation. In addition to serving as chairman of the Executive Committee of Bank of America's Board of Directors, Johnson also served on the boards of directors of Alltel Corporation, Duke Energy Corporation, Liberty Corporation and Stephens, Inc.
Johnson was chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and chairman of the Masters Tournament from 1998-2006 and chairman emeritus from 2006-present.
Johnson held a B.S. degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina as well as an Honorary Doctor of Law degree. Honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees were also conferred upon him by the Medical University of South Carolina and Lander University. While a student at USC, Johnson played football for Coach Rex Enright.
He served as chairman of both the South Carolina Ports Authority and the South Carolina Research Authority, as well as a member of The South Carolina State Development Board. Johnson also served as chairman of the Committee to Develop a Plan of Desegregation of the National Urban League. He was a Laureate of the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame. The State newspaper named Johnson as one of South Carolina's 15 most influential business leaders of the 20th Century. He was active in politics, serving as finance chairman for Governor Robert McNair, Governor Carroll Campbell, Governor David Beasley, Senator Strom Thurmond, Senator Bob Dole and President George H.W. Bush.