Kaplan Partners Highlights Key Third Quarter Success Stories

Despite the dual impacts of the global pandemic and challenging economy, this past summer our firm was quite busy continuing to work diligently on behalf of our clients.  Some of our recent success stories:

  • President of Community Banking, Flagstar Bank
  • President & CEO, Community Bank/CB Financial Services
  • EVP & Imminent President & CEO, Bankers Cooperative Group/NJ Bankers
  • VP-Finance, Connecticut Water
  • Board Member, First Internet Bank
  • Chief Financial Officer, Howard Bank
  • Corporate Controller, Project Management Institute

These assignments took place in six different states across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.  Kaplan Partners’ prime focus continues to be on financial institutions nationwide, as well as corporate financial roles and high growth/investor owned middle market firms.  For more information contact Founder & CEO Alan Kaplan at alan@KaplanPartners.com.

Kaplan Partners Selected by Maryland Bankers Association


CONTACT: Mindy Lehman
Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Communications
443-837-1613 | mlehman@mdbankers.com

Kaplan Partners Selected to Manage the Search for the
Maryland Bankers Association’s President and CEO

The Maryland Bankers Association (MBA) Board of Directors continues to move expeditiously toward
successful completion of the search for the Association’s next President and CEO. The search was
initiated due to the pending departure at the end of August of long-serving CEO Kathleen Murphy, who
will be joining the Massachusetts Bankers Association as its President and CEO.

On July 22, 2020, MBA Chairman Robert E. “B.J.” Goetz, President and CEO of Middletown Valley
Bank, informed the membership of the creation of a Succession Committee to oversee the search process.
At that time, Goetz also pledged to keep the members informed of the Committee’s progress.

Today, the Association is pleased to announce that Maryland Bankers Association member Kaplan
Partners (“Kaplan”) has been selected to assist the Succession Committee on this important initiative.
Philadelphia-based Kaplan Partners has been in business for over 26 years, with an excellent reputation as
an industry-leading boutique executive search and board advisory firm. According to Goetz, “Kaplan’s
deep expertise in the banking industry, strong knowledge of the banking association landscape and track
record of success in placing proven executives in Maryland banks and other state bankers associations
combined to make Kaplan the firm of choice to assist with the Association’s CEO succession process.”

Kaplan Principal Nick DeMedio will be joining the Firm’s Founder and CEO Alan Kaplan as the lead
consultants on the search, working with the Succession Committee and as a point of contact for the deep
candidate pool that has emerged for this key leadership position. Inquiries may be directed to Nick
DeMedio at nick@kaplanpartners.com.


Founded in 1896, MBA represents community, regional and large nationwide banks and thrifts of all
sizes and charter types which hold $140 billion in deposits in more than 1,400 branches across the
State. Maryland banks employ more than 26,000 professionals who dedicate on average 100 hours of
community service annually. MBA serves member banks as a legislative and regulatory advocate at all
levels of government, as the public relations voice for the industry, as a provider of professional
education to members and a promoter of financial education to the community.

Community Bank Names CEO

August 14, 2020  —  Carmichaels, PA    CB Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBFV) and its’ subsidiary Community Bank, announced today that John H. Montgomery has been appointed to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and the Bank, effective August 31, 2020.  He succeeds Barron P. McCune, Jr. who has been serving in an interim capacity since early January.

Mr. Montgomery will also serve as a Director of the Company and the Bank. Concurrent with the effectiveness of Mr. Montgomery’s appointment as President and CEO, Mr. McCune will become an Executive Consultant to the Company and the Bank through March 31, 2021, to assist in the leadership transition. Mr. McCune will also become a Director Emeritus of the Bank and the Company.

Mr. Montgomery is an accomplished bank executive with over 30 years of experience, demonstrating excellence in a variety of challenging roles. He most recently served as EVP & Chief Credit Officer, as well as a Director, of Missouri-based First Bank, a $7 billion asset multi-state banking institution.  Mr. Montgomery previously was a senior executive with Susquehanna Bancshares.  He holds an undergraduate degree from Juniata College and an MBA from Drexel University.

Who Sits on Your Board of Directors?

As companies large and small grapple with the business impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, CEOs and their executive teams need all the help they can get. The Board of Directors or Board of Advisors should be one of the primary resources for organizational leaders.  But what if that board is not up to the task of providing strategic insight and offering the kind of valuable perspective needed to help the company navigate the new world order?

From our vantage point as strategic human capital advisors, we have had the opportunity to see hundreds of boards up close and personal.  Some are incredibly impressive and impactful.  Some other boards, unfortunately, are full of well-meaning people with homogenous thinking, dated skills, or business acumen that does not lend itself to great governance and strategic input.  Among the most critical roles of a board of directors is to: 1) decide who leads the organization and; 2) provide valuable oversight of business strategy and risk.  Directors whose own experiences do not align well with these vital responsibilities should perhaps be reevaluated for continued board service.

Now more than ever, organizations need board members who are not just great business leaders, but who also represent a diverse range of perspectives along with strong skills in key areas.  For example, as companies revamp their business models, directors with strong financial competency may be especially helpful.  Many firms have had to ramp up their work-from-home or online technological capabilities, and thus a strong digital director would be very useful at this time.  Executive compensation plans are under scrutiny as business forecasts evolve, and board members with relevant skills in this area might be particularly valuable.

Both the skills and life experiences of your board members really do make a difference.  It has been well documented that the more diverse the perspectives sitting around the board table, the more likely better decisions will be made.  A group of board members who think alike, look alike and see issues from a similar viewpoint are missing the opportunity to cast decision-making in the broadest possible light.  Considering this, how can a more diverse board not be beneficial?

According to Carol Johnson, a Director who sits on four corporate boards, “The CEO role has never been more challenging.  Board support and input, in partnership with the CEO and leadership team, should help the organization to think through strategic solutions, fresh opportunities, and how life will be different.  This is more important today than ever.”

The saga of the Board of Directors of Theranos, a now defunct blood testing startup founded by one-time Stanford student Elizabeth Holmes, is quite telling.  Holmes recruited luminaries including Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, William Perry, Sam Nunn, Bill Frist, Dick Kovacevich and Jim Mattis to her board with the promise of revolutionizing blood tests.  While this was a board of intelligent and accomplished leaders, they likely viewed the world similarly, and simply did not govern appropriately, ask the right questions, or properly assess the company’s risks.  And equally important, most of these big name directors did not have relevant experience with the company’s core business of blood testing.  As a result, the company is out of business and Holmes is awaiting trial.  Names alone do not make a great board.  It is the collective skills, nuanced insight, diverse backgrounds and perspectives, the courage to tackle tough issues, and the ability to present opposing views in a constructive manner that are the hallmarks of the most effective boards.

Needless to say, directors are expected to do their homework and prepare for board meetings beforehand.  Shockingly,  we see too many directors who do not review materials ahead of time, often belaboring discussions and sidetracking conversations, which wastes valuable board time.  The average public director now spends roughly 20 hours per month on their board duties, and advance preparation to optimize board time together remains critical to being a high performing board.

Companies with lesser skilled directors, or a board lacking in diversity, need to take a hard look at who is truly contributing and adding real value.  Perhaps it is time to have a difficult conversation or two regarding the need for current skills, along with the expectations of board performance.  As Bill McNabb, the former CEO of Vanguard has stated “Having the right directors on the board is the single most important factor in good governance”.  Well said.

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and board advisory firm headquartered in suburban Philadelphia. He can be reached at 610-642-5644 or alan@KaplanPartners.com.





Flagstar Bank Names Reginald Davis President of Community Banking

Troy, Michigan, June 9, 2020   —   Flagstar Bank has named Reginald Davis President of Banking. Davis is a 35-year veteran of the banking industry who most recently served as head of business banking, including small business, at SunTrust, now Truist.

Davis brings to Flagstar an extensive background in banking. Besides additional experience at SunTrust as a retail market executive, he also served as president of RBC Bank USA, the domestic banking division of the Royal Bank of Canada, and as a senior executive and member of the operating committee for Wachovia (now Wells Fargo Bank), where he held a number of senior roles with P&L responsibility. He started his banking career at First Union Bank.

At Flagstar, he will be responsible for commercial and industrial, middle market, and warehouse lending. Additional areas of responsibility include consumer finance, equipment finance, homebuilder finance, government banking, treasury management, branch banking and strategic alliances.

“Reggie is a talented, versatile, seasoned banker with a proven track record of putting solutions within reach of customers and getting results,” said Alessandro DiNello, president and CEO of Flagstar. “Community banking is key to diversifying our earnings, and we’re fortunate to have Reggie fill this important position and help us strengthen our community banking and lending.”

Davis comes to Flagstar from the Atlanta area where he is a member of Business Executives for National Security. Previously, he served on the board of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Davis also is a member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta. In 2005, Black Enterprise Magazine named him one of the 75 most powerful African Americans in corporate America.

Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: FBC) is a $26.8 billion savings and loan holding company headquartered in Troy, Michigan.  Flagstar Bank, FSB, provides commercial, small business, and consumer banking services through 160 branches in Michigan, Indiana, California, Wisconsin and Ohio. It also provides home loans through a wholesale network of brokers and correspondents in all 50 states, as well as 87 retail locations in 28 states, representing the combined retail branches of Flagstar and its Opes Advisors mortgage division. Flagstar is a leading national originator and servicer of mortgage and other consumer loans, handling payments and record keeping for $225 billion of loans representing nearly 1.1 million borrowers. For more information, please visit flagstar.com.


Bankers Cooperative Group Appoints Cooney as New EVP and Imminent President and & CEO

Cranford, NJ, June 3, 2020   —   Bankers Cooperative Group, Inc. (BCG), an affiliated company of the New Jersey Bankers Association (NJBankers), announced the appointment of Matthew W. Cooney as its new executive vice president and imminent president & CEO. Cooney has a broad background with expertise in sales and business development, account management, customer service and operations. His professional experience includes positions at Flexible Benefits Plans, Inc., Allstate Benefits, Independence Blue Cross, AmeriHealth Administrators and Kistler Tiffany Benefits. He also served two terms as president of the Greater Philadelphia National Association of Underwriters. Cooney is a licensed life & health insurance producer in all fifty states.

In his initial role as executive vice president he will be primarily responsible for identifying and developing new marketing strategies to grow and maintain persistency of BCG’s book of business. He will also manage key client relationships and internal operations as he shadows retiring president & CEO Richard Siderko for the remainder of 2020. He will assume the president & CEO position as of January 1, 2021.

Siderko, exiting after thirty-eight years of service has been quoted as saying, “Matt has well thought out strategies for growing BCG which will play extremely well within NJBankers Membership and advance BCG for years to come”. BCG Chairman and NJBankers President & CEO John McWeeney, Jr. added “Matt’s industry connections, experience and passion will have great upside for us going forward”.


Howard Bank Names CFO

June 2, 2020, Baltimore, MD  —  The board of Baltimore-based Howard Bancorp Inc. appointed Robert Carpenter Jr. permanent CFO and principal accounting officer, effective May 27. Carpenter took over these roles on an interim basis in February. He was the CFO for Maryland Financial Bank from February 2018 to July 2019.

Carpenter has extensive financial officer experience in the banking industry, including with Damascus Community Bank and Bay Bank FSB.  His early industry experience was with several large regional banks in the Maryland market. Carpenter began his career with KPMG in Baltimore and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Howard Bancorp, Inc. is the parent company of Howard Bank, a Maryland-chartered trust company operating as a commercial bank. Headquartered in Baltimore City, Maryland, Howard Bank operates a general commercial banking business through its 15 branches located throughout the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Additional information about Howard Bancorp, Inc. and Howard Bank are available on its website at www.howardbank.com.

Current Searches 2020

Please contact us to learn about our current activities.

Ana Dutra and Michel Smith Join First Internet Bancorp Board

May 18, 2020, Indianapolis, IN   —-  On May 18, 2020, shareholders of First Internet Bancorp (NASDAQ: INBK) elected Ana Dutra and Michael L. Smith as new independent members to the Board of Directors to serve one-year terms expiring at the 2021 annual meeting of shareholders.

Ana Dutra founded Mandala Global Advisors, Inc. in 2013, and currently serves as its CEO.  Mandala is a provider of advisory services to boards and management to accelerate business growth through innovation, globalization, M&A, and turnaround strategies.  She previously served as CEO of The Executives’ Club of Chicago, a world-class senior executives organization focused on the development, innovation and networking of current and future business and community leaders, from 2014 until her retirement in September 2018. Prior to that she was a Proxy Officer and Chief Executive Officer of Korn/Ferry Consulting from 2007 until 2013.

Dutra has served as a member of the board of directors of CME Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CME) since January 2015, Eletrobras (NYSE: EBR) since January 2019, and Health, Harvest & Recreation, Inc. (NCSX:HARV) since 2014. She is also a member of the boards of directors of Elkay Manufacturing Company, M. Holland Company, Lifespace Communities, Inc., Greeley and Hansen LLC, Latino Corporate Directors Association, and Blessings-in-a-Backpack.

Michael L. Smith was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Anthem, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, from 1999 until his retirement in 2005. Prior to that, he served as Chief Operating Officer of American Health Network, a subsidiary of Anthem. Prior to joining Anthem in 1996, Mr. Smith was Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mayflower Group, Inc. from 1989 to 1995, and he held various other management positions with Mayflower from 1974 to 1989.

Smith was previously a director of the following public companies: Vectren Corporation (which was acquired by CenterPoint Energy, Inc. in 2019), Envision Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (which was acquired by Enterprise Parent Holdings Inc. in 2018), hhgregg Inc., Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P., InterMune, Inc., First Indiana Corporation (which was acquired by Marshall & Ilsley Corporation in 2008), Brightpoint, Inc. (which was acquired by Ingram Micro, Inc. in 2012) and Kite Realty Group Trust. Mr. Smith currently serves on the boards of LDI Ltd., LLC, Carestream Health Services, Inc., Agilon, Inc. and Drive Medical, which are private companies.

First Internet Bancorp is a bank holding company with assets of $4.2 billion as of March 31, 2020. The Company’s subsidiary, First Internet Bank, opened for business in 1999 as an industry pioneer in the branchless delivery of banking services. The Bank provides consumer and small business deposit, consumer loan, residential mortgage, and specialty finance services nationally as well as commercial real estate loans, commercial and industrial loans, SBA financing and treasury management services in select geographies.

Crisis Leadership 101

To view this article in its published format click here <PACB April 2020 – Kaplan (1)>

The global pandemic has struck terror into the hearts of nearly everyone.  Business leaders and board members are reeling from the rapid impact on their organizations, across public companies, small businesses, non-profit organizations and more.  Everyone has been affected.

One of the less discussed impacts, which is shaking boardrooms and executive suites, is the issue of leadership succession.  Deciding who leads is a board’s most critical responsibility.  While proactive succession planning has long been a best practice, too many institutions still do not emphasize leadership succession seriously enough or review their plans often enough.  And now, with the scourge of Covid-19 upon us, organizations and boards are quickly taking a long, hard look at the quality and quantity of their succession plans.

One only needs to review the headlines to know that the issue of succession reared its ugly head due to Covid-19.  The CEOs of Altria, Morgan Stanley, British Telecom and Madison Square Garden all confirmed that they had been infected.  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was infected. Sadly, Jeffries & Co. CFO Peg Broadbent died from his Coronavirus infection.  Even before COVID-19, consider that JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon returned to work earlier this spring from a month-long absence, after emergency surgery for a major heart condition.  Succession is always a serious matter, and never more so than in 2020, when a random and unseen enemy could impact anyone at any time.What is a board or incumbent leader to do, particularly in more entrepreneurial organizations without a deep bench of talent?  Here are a few key strategies:

  • Designate an emergency successor immediately. There should always be someone appointed to keep the train on the tracks in times of crisis.  This also allows those in control (owners or directors) a bit of time to formulate a long term leadership strategy.
  • Review succession plans for all C-Suite and Key Executive roles (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.) with regular frequency. Regular means no less than annually on a formal basis, and more frequently if a planned orderly transition—such as a CEO retirement—is coming in the not-too-distant future.
  • Take a good look at existing talent development plans across your organization, especially those 2-3 levels below the top. What is being done to develop, coach, mentor, and strengthen the skills and leadership competencies of high potential talent within the institution?  These employees are your most valuable workers, and the ones with the most career options.  Are you truly taking care of their needs while also serving the organization’s future?
  • Centralize efforts at talent attraction, retention and development across the organization. Succession is a multi-faceted endeavor, and needs some level of consistent oversight to make sure that key players are not falling through the cracks or being shortchanged.  It happens all too often, and perceived greater career upside is the single biggest reason why a high potential often leaves.  Do you have a strategic HR leader to assist with these efforts?
  • Lastly, pay personal attention to those up-and-comers. If you’re a leader, whether the CEO, General Manager, Owner or C-Suite Executive, it’s your personal involvement with high potentials that makes them inclined to stick around.  Let your rising stars know that they have a bright future, and that you have plans for them. Communicating regularly does more than almost anything to keep them in the fold.  Then challenge them with special projects, new assignments, and out-of-the-box opportunities, to test them and to help them grow.

Two-thirds of our recent CEO succession projects arose from unplanned openings at the top—and this was before Covid-19’s full onset.  We see such leadership transitions all the time in our business, and companies should work to minimize the impact of unforeseen leadership changes.  Smooth transitions of power from within an organization are the least disruptive, and are typically most effective when the rising talent has been well prepared.  Unfortunately, unexpected things happen, and organizations need to be ready for leadership succession in good times and bad.  Hopefully one of the lessons from this global pandemic will be that more institutions will strengthen their succession planning efforts, to better protect themselves in the future.

<To read the article in its published format, click here  PACB April 2020 – Kaplan (1)>

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm headquartered in suburban Philadelphia. Kaplan Partners is the country’s only talent advisory firm member of both the ABA and ICBA, as well as a longstanding partner of Bank Director. You can reach Alan at 610-642-5644 or alan@KaplanPartners.com.