[ FRANK MANAUT / 1924-2003 ]

Bankoh’s former CEO
handled difficult changes

mug Frank J. Manaut, chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of Hawaii and parent company Bancorp Hawaii Inc. during most of the 1980s, died early yesterday morning at his Hawaii Kai home. He was 79.

Manaut, who spent 39 years at the bank, began in 1950 as a management trainee and worked his way up the ranks. He was elevated from president to the top position on Aug. 4, 1980, after Wilson "Willie" P. Cannon Jr. died unexpectedly at 60 from complications following surgery for a respiratory ailment. Manaut remained in the top post until retirement on Feb. 28, 1989. He was replaced by H. Howard Stephenson.

Bank of Hawaii Corp. Vice Chairman Alton Kuioka said Manaut exhibited great leadership skills in taking over the bank under those circumstances.

"I remember thinking how much strength it must have taken for him to take over the leadership role after the untimely death of Willie Cannon," said Kuioka, who worked with Manaut for about 20 years. "I think most people, Frank included, think about being able to transition to leadership. However, he was suddenly thrust into the role and showed a lot of character and integrity in the way he took over and continued to lead the bank."

Shortly after his appointment, Manaut predicted that the deregulation of financial institutions was going to change the face of banking.

"There's no question that we're in a very dramatic time," Manaut said in a January 1981 interview with the Star-Bulletin. "Nothing in the industry that's happened in the '50s, '60s and '70s will seem as dramatic as what we'll be seeing as we go through the '80s. It's the beginning of a new era in banking."

Manaut assumed the reins when interest rates were near or at all-time highs, but was able to grow the bank by acquiring Hawaiian Trust Co. Ltd. in 1985.

Former Bank of Hawaii Chairman and CEO Lawrence Johnson, who worked with Manaut for 30 years, said he "set an example for me and many others as a man of honesty, integrity and humility."

"His competitive spirit and zest for life was admired and respected by all that he touched," said Johnson, who succeeded Stephenson. "He had a significant impact on my career and on my character, and he leaves this world having made a real difference at Bank of Hawaii, our community and to his friends and family."

Manaut said in the waning days before his retirement that his greatest satisfaction during his tenure was the accolades the bank received for being one of the better financial institutions in the country. In his last full year at the helm, publication United States Banker rated Bancorp Hawaii No. 1 nationally among small regional banks, calling it "a near-perfect banking company" based on various rates of return. In addition, Montgomery Securities called Bancorp Hawaii's loan quality "pristine" due to domestic quarterly loan losses that were just 0.01 percent of average loans.

During his career, Manaut became involved with a number of organizations, including the Hawaii Business Roundtable, the Pacific Basin Economic Council, the East-West Center Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

His community service included being a trustee of the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, Punahou School and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. He also served as a director of the Queen's Medical Center and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu's Finance Committee.

Manaut, who was born Feb. 16, 1924, in Alhambra, Calif., graduated from UCLA, the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program and the Pacific Coast Banking School. He was an officer in the Navy in World War II and retired as a lieutenant after serving in the Korean War.

In 1988 he was named in Industry Week's "Movers & Shakers" list for dedicating time and energy to improving the civic and social climate of Hawaii. He also was included in Business Week's 1987 list of the nation's top 1,000 publicly held companies and their CEOs.

Hawaii organizations also recognized Manaut's efforts; the Honolulu Elks Club distinguished him with its Citizen of the Year award in 1985.

Manaut's son, Pete, said the former CEO managed his role as a father with the same dedication that he managed his work.

"He was the greatest guy I've ever known. There's no other way to put it," he said.

Besides Pete, Manaut is survived by wife Alison, sons Paul and Mike, daughter Anne Hagar and eight grandchildren.

Services will be at 5 p.m. Sunday at St. Patrick's Church in Kaimuki. Aloha attire. Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association.

Star-Bulletin reporter Mary Vorsino contributed to this story.


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