Magazine article American Banker

WEEKLY ADVISER: A Twelve-Step Program for Succession Planning

Magazine article American Banker

WEEKLY ADVISER: A Twelve-Step Program for Succession Planning

Article excerpt

Our latest contest for the temporary presidency of Schmidlap National Bank asked how banks should plan for the retirement of board members and top officers.

John G. Greer, president and chief executive at New Richmond National Bank in New Richmond, Ohio, said he believes "the institution is more important than the individual.

"I am a 41-year-old CEO. Our bank has a succession plan. Why? Because it's the right thing to do!"

Richard M. Bell, president and CEO of First National Bank of Three Rivers (Mich.), said his bank recently adopted a policy that requires directors to retire from boards within two years of retiring from their jobs or at age 70, whichever occurs first.

The bank also requires directors to submit their resignations for consideration if they no longer represent the company or occupation they represented when first appointed to the board or they move outside the bank's primary market area.

Mr. Bell's bank also has documents that name an acting CEO in case the current officeholder dies, falls ill, or resigns.

Our winner, though, is Robert W. Klockers, president and CEO of VASA Group of Middleton, Wis.

Before joining this consulting group he was a community banker in Kansas and vice president of the graduate school of banking in Madison, Wis.

Mr. Klockers writes that the problem of succession is especially difficult in family-owned banks, where it's not uncommon to see officers and directors well into their 70s. To overcome the ticklish problem of pushing aside older directors, he suggests naming these people emeritus directors and keeping their director fees unchanged. …

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