John Morton, a longtime Bank of America executive who led the region's effort to host the 2012 Olympics, will retire from the bank today.

Morton, 61, started his banking career in the 1970s at Maryland National Bank. After more than a decade with the Baltimore bank, Morton left the region to help turn around struggling financial institutions.

One of them, the Boatman's National Bank of St. Louis, was sold to Bank of America in 1996, and two years later Morton returned to the Washington area to lead the bank's mid-Atlantic division. The unit won top performance awards for three straight years under his leadership.

"He has a ferocious will to win," said William Couper, now president of Bank of America's mid-Atlantic region.

Since 2001, Morton has led Bank of America's Premier Banking unit, which caters to wealthy individuals.

Morton also gained prominence in the region through his involvement in community groups such as the Federal City Council and the Greater Baltimore Committee.

In 1998, Morton, an avid sports fan, became chairman of the Washington/Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition, an organization that tried to bring the Olympics to the area.

Morton, who moved to Boston when he took over the premier division, could not be reached for comment yesterday. A statement from Bank of America said Morton planned to live in the Baltimore-Washington area after he retires.

John Morton had a 30-year career.