Bankoh taps Landon
Industry analysts hail
the appointment of the
bank's CFO to president
Just after the market closed yesterday, Bank of Hawaii Corp. gained more confidence with investors and equity analysts by naming a new president and establishing a line of succession.
The directors' decision to promote Chief Financial Officer Allan R. Landon "brings additional strength to the management team," said Fred Cannon, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette and Woods in New York.
"In general I view it as a positive move for Bank of Hawaii. Al Landon is a seasoned banker with a very strong reputation on Wall Street. He's been a critical member of the team that helped Bank of Hawaii emerge from some of its earlier problems," Cannon said.
Cannon, who recently upgraded Bank of Hawaii stock to outperform, said the move will be viewed positively in the banking sector because it appears to set up a succession plan for Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mike O'Neill, even though he has not announced any intention of leaving the company.
Landon, an Iowa State University graduate, has served as chief financial officer since 2001, helping O'Neill streamline bank operations and increase profitability. He joined the bank in 2000 as executive vice president and director of risk management.
Landon will retain the title of chief financial officer while gaining responsibility for groups including risk management, human resources and technology operations. He will continue to oversee finance as well as legal and corporate sourcing.
Landon is active in the local and banking communities, serving as the director and treasurer of the University of Hawaii Foundation; a member of the Hawaii Council of the Humanities; a director of Hawaii Medical Services Association; and director-elect of Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle.
Sandler, O'Neill and partners analyst Mike McMahon in San Francisco credited Landon with helping the bank double its stock price and increase profitability. Under Landon and O'Neill's direction the bank has refocused back to its core markets in Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa and reduced nonprofitable and low margin assets, he said.
"Investors have also taken notice that the company is 30 percent smaller in terms of assets, but has higher absolute value earnings," he said.
Landon said he's been proud to be a part of the restructuring team that turned the company around during the past three years.
"We're in a strong position -- financially and competitively -- and we look forward to maintaining the momentum as we move into 2004," Landon said, adding that the bank will release its latest three-year plan in January. The plan continues to focus "on elevating customer service levels, expanding client relationships and growing the business in key markets," he said.
The Bankoh board of directors also views Landon's promotion positively, said Mary Bitterman, lead director.
"Al has done an excellent job and always has the best interests of our employees, customers, community and shareholders at heart," Bitterman said. "He has clearly shown an ability to understand ... these different constituencies."
Landon's promotion is the most significant one since Bank of Hawaii hired O'Neill in 2002.