Daniel R. Bannister former president of DynCorp, dies at 80

Daniel Bannister was paid $1.65 an hour when he joined DynCorp as a technician. When he retired, he had become board chairman.
Daniel Bannister was paid $1.65 an hour when he joined DynCorp as a technician. When he retired, he had become board chairman.
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 16, 2011; 11:29 PM

Daniel R. Bannister, 80, who as president and chief of executive of DynCorp from 1985 to 1997 led the government contracting firm through tremendous growth, died March 12 at Georgetown University Hospital. He had pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Bannister was paid $1.65 an hour when he joined DynCorp as an electronics technician in 1953. A half-century later, when DynCorp was sold to Computer Sciences Corp., Mr. Bannister had become the company's chairman and one of its largest individual shareholders, owning 4.1 percent of the business.

During his tenure, Mr. Bannister oversaw the acquisition of more than 40 companies. When he retired in 2003, he was credited with helping to mold what had been an aviation services company into a sprawling conglomerate that employed 24,000 people and earned $2.4 billion in annual revenue.

Much of the company's business stemmed from a variety of government contracts. Under Mr. Bannister's stewardship, DynCorp employees mowed government lawns, maintained military aircraft and built federal computer networks.

He oversaw DynCorp contracts to operate missile test ranges for the Defense Department, develop vaccines for the National Institutes of Health and install security systems in U.S. embassies for the State Department.

As a private security contractor, DynCorp supplied bodyguards to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the 1990s and to Afghan President Hamid Karzai during the early 2000s.

In 1992, by highlighting his company's technical advances on computerized operations, Mr. Bannister helped DynCorp win a lucrative contract to operate and manage the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Mr. Bannister, a longtime McLean resident, stepped down as DynCorp's president and chief executive in 1997 to become chairman of the board.

Seven years after he left the company, DynCorp was sold to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in 2010.

Daniel Richard Bannister was born June 29, 1930, in Detroit. When he was 11, his father died and Mr. Bannister was compelled to take a leading role in his family's welfare.

He enlisted in the Air Force in 1948 and was trained as a radar technician. After service in the Korean War, Mr. Bannister left the military in 1952 and a year later joined Eastern Airways, a precursor of DynCorp.

DynCorp was a publicly traded company for many years until 1988, when Mr. Bannister led a group of investors to take the company private in order to fend off a hostile takeover attempt.


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