Doane steps down


POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2009

W. Allen Doane is retiring as chief executive officer and chairman of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. at the end of this year amid leadership changes at the only one of Hawaii's original Big Five sugar companies that continues its dominant role.

Stanley M. Kuriyama, A&B's president, will be promoted to CEO in January when Doane retires, while lead independent director Walter A. Dods Jr. will become board chairman.

“;Having served as CEO since 1998, the timing was right to implement the succession plan approved by the A&B board,”; Doane said. “;A&B is truly fortunate to have an individual of Stan's proven capability and experience take on these leadership responsibilities, and I am confident that the company's best days are ahead.”;

The changes come following a 57.4 percent earnings decline in the second quarter which left the company evaluating its future in the sugar business, but before the release of third-quarter earnings, which are expected on Thursday. If A&B exits the sugar business, it would leave the state without sugar producers. Kauai-based Gay & Robinson will finish harvesting its last crop at the end of this month.

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While the agribusiness unit dragged down second-quarter earnings and caused A&B's net income to fall to $12.6 million, and its revenue to drop 22.9 percent from the prior year, during Doane's 11-year-tenure as CEO at A&B earnings increased from $25 million in 1998 to more than $130 million in 2008. Doane's total compensation package from A&B was nearly $5 million in 2008, according to the latest proxy statement.

Doane, who will be 62 in January when the succession plan plays out, said that he and the board had been planning his retirement since 2007.

“;A lot of times in life, we just don't know when to leave, so I started with an end in mind. I thought if I was a little good and a little lucky that I would want to do this for 10 years,”; said Doane, whose immediate plans are to spend more time with family and its newest additions, a 3-year-old son and a 6-month-old daughter.

“;People always say they are retiring to spend more time with family, but in this case it's true,”; said Doane, who refers to the five adult children from his previous marriage as “;The Big Five.”;

After retiring, Doane said his first job of the day will be to get his youngest son to preschool at 7:15 a.m. daily. In the meantime, Doane, who will continue to serve as an A&B director, has made good on his last job as CEO, which was “;to find someone who will do a better job.”;

But some might argue that Kuriyama will have big shoes to fill at the Honolulu-headquartered company. A&B is engaged in ocean transportation and logistics services through its subsidiaries Matson Navigation Co., Matson Integrated Logistics Inc. and Matson Global Distribution Services; in real estate through A&B Properties Inc.; and in agribusiness through Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. and Kauai Coffee Co. Inc.

Under Doane, who joined A&B in 1991, the company grew its real estate holdings, and by 2008 tripled its real estate income.

“;We have grown our real estate portfolio far beyond our traditional land holdings on Maui and Kauai through a disciplined investment strategy, all while remaining true to our Hawaii heritage with continued, substantial investment in development projects throughout Hawaii and in timely investments in our agricultural and renewable energy businesses on Maui and Kauai,”; he said.

In the last decade, the company's crown jewel, Matson, doubled its income though expansion westward to Shanghai and eastward to Savannah, Ga., Doane said.

Kuriyama, 56, has been serving as president of A&B since October 2008 and has since been responsible for operations at Matson Navigation and the A&B Land Group, which includes A&B Properties and A&B's agricultural and trucking operations. He joined the company in 1992 as vice president and earned a little more than $1.5 million from A&B last year, according to A&B's latest proxy statement.

The 68-year-old Dods, who has served on A&B's board since 1989 and will take over leadership in the coming year, said directors are confident in Kuriyama.

“;On a personal level, it is thrilling for me to have one of Hawaii's own, a local boy, assume these responsibilities,”; said Dods, who earned more than $208,000 in 2008 from A&B.

Kuriyama said that while the economic environment is obviously challenging, Doane laid a strong foundation for the future.

“;We have strong operating companies and quality assets; we are committed to finding new ways and places to grow our business; and most of all, we are blessed with extraordinarily capable and dedicated employees throughout the organization,”; Kuriyama said, adding that he is optimistic about A&B's future.