COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - USC alumnus, banker, and former Augusta Nationals chairman William Woodward "Hootie" Johnson has passed away.
Johnson was 86 years old. He was born in Augusta, GA on Feb. 16, 1931.
Johnson, a University of South Carolina alum and football player, was a former Bank of America executive and the chairman at Augusta National from 1998 to 2006.
He was also a chairman of the executive committee at Bank of America and was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame.
Kim Wilkerson, SC State Market president, released a statement, saying, "We have lost a great visionary and friend. Mr. Johnson's legacy of leadership, particularly in responsible growth, diversity, and inclusion, can be seen in the Bank of America values we live today. We will always be thankful for the decades of service he gave to our company and the communities we serve."
During his time as the chairman of Augusta National, he was thrust into the spotlight after a terse letter was sent to Martha Burk, who was then leading the National Council of Women's Organization. Burk asked for women to be admitted to members of the exclusive, men's only club.
Aside from the 2002 controversy, Johnson oversaw improvements of Augusta National's course and helped that navigate a national television deal to broadcast the Masters.
Since 2006, Johnson was the "Chairman Emeritus" of Augusta National.
Current Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne released a statement Johnson's death, saying:
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also released a statement via Twitter.