Attorney takes part in ringing Nasdaq bell

By Cynthia Price
Legal News

It is an honor to ring the bell that opens the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York City, the second largest stock exchange in the world and the largest electronic screen-based equity securities market in the U.S.

On March 14, University of Michigan Law School alumnus Jeffrey A. Ott, a partner with Warner, Norcross and Judd, was part of a team from Chemical Financial Corporation accorded that honor, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding.
But for Ott, an even greater source of joy was seeing his father honored as well. Alan Ott was the CEO of Chemical Bank, which became Chemical Financial Corporation shortly after he started, from 1971 to 1996. As Jeff Ott says, “I grew up with Chemical Bank.”

In 1917, Chemical State Savings Bank started out with assets of $50,000 in Midland, even before the Depression years, and has now grown to assets of $17 billion. Chemical Financial Corp., through its subsidiary Chemical Bank, has 249 branches and 3500 employees, making it the largest banking company headquartered in Michigan.

Chemical became Ott’s client in 1992, before his father’s retirement, but he feels as if he and the bank continued to grow together.

“I’m their outside corporate and securities counsel,” he says, “and have done all their recent mergers and acquisitions, including the latest one which was worth $1.6 billion.”

Ott, who graduated summa cum laude from Albion College and cum laude from University of Michigan Law School, has been named to the Best Lawyers list from 2010 to present, and Leading Lawyers Michigan in 2014. In addition, he is a member of the America Bar’s Business Law and International Law Sections, and the National Association of Stock Plan professionals.

A surprise snowstorm in New York City meant that Ott and his wife, Mary Ann Sabo, had to stay an extra day. “They apparently activated their snow emergency communications and told people if they didn’t absolutely need to go into the city, they shouldn’t,” Ott says. “I walked down Fifth Avenue and most of the places were just closed. It was pretty dead.”

Nonetheless, Ott feels it was well worth it. “It was just extremely exciting.  There was a second ceremony where they presented us with a certificate, and the presenter said in his memory it’s only the second time they’ve ever done that,” he says.

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