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Realignment of Bank Leaders

Executive changes at U.S. banks

July 5, 2010

By SAM GARCIA


Some big banks recently saw some big changes among their top ranks, including an immediate medical leave for one chief. Management changes at smaller institutions impacted several banks from Hawaii to New York. An executive who is leaving one $20 billion bank is looking at a $765,000 exit package.

A trio of senior executive appointments were announced last month by New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Heidi Miller, who was head of Treasury & securities services, was named to the new post of president of international.

JP Morgan said Miller "will develop a comprehensive and coordinated international business strategy and growth plan -- ensuring that the company identifies opportunities for growth all over the world; accelerates its expansion in countries like China, Brazil, India, and Russia; seeks out opportunities in other emerging economies; properly resources and governs lines of business and functions; continues the build-out of local branches; and cuts out any bureaucracy and inefficiencies."

Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanagh replaces Miller as chief executive officer of Treasury & securities services. Chase highlighted how Cavanagh "played a key role in helping the company successfully navigate the financial crisis over the past few years."

Doug Braunstein, head of investment banking, Americas, was named to fill the open CFO spot at JPMorgan. Braunstein previously was head of global mergers and acquisitions and has been a member of the executive committee since 2005.

Synovus Financial Corp. said in a June 21 statement that CEO and Chairman Richard E. Anthony would immediately take a medical leave of absence. After experiencing symptoms several weeks earlier, Anthony was diagnosed with Wegener's Syndrome -- a blood vessel disorder that is a form of vasculitis and will require intensive treatment.

Taking over as acting CEO was Synovus President and Chief Operating Officer Kessel D. Stelling Jr. Named as acting chairman was James D. Yancey, chairman of Synovus subsidiary Columbus Bank and Trust Co.

John C. Dean's appointment to executive chairman of Central Pacific Financial Corp. and subsidiary Central Pacific Bank was approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Reserve Board and the Hawaii State Division of Financial Institutions and effective on June 23. He replaces Dennis I Hirota, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Dean, who the bank said has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, became acting executive chairman of the $4.4 billion bank on March 15. He reportedly spent 29 years as a financial services executive and is "credited with the turnaround three banks, including Silicon Valley Bank."

Honolulu-based Central Pacific noted that its new chairman was recognized by Forbes as one of the "50 most powerful dealmakers" in 2001.

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. said in a regulatory filing that departing executive vice president J. Lanier Little will receive up to $765,000 in cash and expense reimbursements as part of a June 4 termination agreement. The Buffalo, N.Y.-based firm announced the pending departure in May. The last day of employment will occur no later than Aug. 31.

The agreement also calls for the acceleration of vesting of certain equity awards and the extension of exercise dates for those awards.

In June, First Niagara announced the appointment of Oliver Sommer to executive vice president, corporate development. In his new job, he'll work on merger and acquisition strategy with John R. Koelmel -- president and CEO of the $20 billion company. He'll also oversee the subsequent integration of acquired companies.

Before his new gig, Sommer was president of Aston Associates, where he had been for 14 years. In that capacity he acted as an external adviser to his new employer for five years.

Appointed as EVP of consumer banking at First National Bank of Pennsylvania was Barry C. Robinson, a July 1 news release said. Robinson will plan, direct and coordinate all consumer banking activities in Pennsylvania and Ohio. His boss is First National Bank President Vincent J. Delie Jr.

Robinson's prior job was EVP at PNC. He's been in banking for 23 years.

First National, an $8.8 billion institution based in Hermitage, Pa., also announced the promotion of 15-year employee Daniel R. Holquist to executive director of retail banking.

Arvest Bank said its Central Arkansas operations will be headed by John Womack, who becomes chairman and chief executive officer of the division tomorrow. He was promoted from president of Fort Smith, Ark. banking operations, and replaces Larry Choate.

Womack started his banking career in 1974 at City National Bank and joined $11 billion Arvest in 1999.

Little Rock, Ark.-based Arvest said Craig Rivaldo replaces Womack as president and CEO of the Fort Smith-River Valley operations. With five years' banking experience under his belt, Rivaldo joined Arvest in 1987. He is being promoted from executive vice president and loan manager of the division.

The Berkshire Eagle reported that Marilyn Sperling was appointed interim CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, replacing Angelo C. Stracuzzi following an investigation into two misdemeanor criminal convictions he had five years ago. The $1.2 billion institution reportedly has 68,000 members.

Steve Fusco was named CFO by $0.5 billion Sussex Bank last week. The last two of Fusco's 22 years in financial positions were as chief operating officer of Investors Savings Bank.


Sam Garcia worked in mortgage lending for twenty years prior to becoming publisher of MortgageDaily.com in 2000.

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