Crisis Leadership 101

I don’t claim to be an expert in crisis management.  However, since founding our firm 26 years ago, I’ve met literally thousands of C-Suite leaders and recruited over 100 Presidents/CEOs.  So, I have observed a few things along the way.  Here are three critical elements of leadership which I view as particularly relevant in these challenging times.

Leaders lead from the front   I’ve observed many leaders who revel in their title as President or CEO or General Manager.  They aspire to such lofty roles and then sit in an oversized office waiting for staff to come to them.  In addition, some of these “leaders” assume that because of their title, by definition they have all the answers.  No one actually does.

As the latest crisis was unfolding, I was made aware of a handful of CEOs still planning to attend a conference which—while providing genuinely useful content—also involved a large amount of free time at a posh resort.  Now, we’re all entitled to a little downtime, but with a burgeoning crisis—whether COVID-19 or any other—leaders need to be on the front lines, carrying the flag, reassuring employees and making critical decisions.  When times are tough, people want their leader to exude confidence and be visible out front.

Leaders communicate  In good times, I believe that a leader cannot over-communicate to the troops.  There’s an old saying that “people don’t want to be managed; they want to be led”.  As all good leaders know, communication is a vital part of the role. In times when things are less than ideal, communicating with your team takes on even greater importance.  Knowing what is happening, that there is a plan and a path forward, has a powerful effect on people.  In the absence of information, you get speculation.  So give the news to your people straight up, good or bad, and as quickly and as often as you can.

Leaders must be adaptable  Even the best developed plans may go off the rails in good times.  Market forces, competitive dynamics, insufficient execution, managerial shortcomings and more may make a seemingly good strategy look flawed in the rear view mirror.  Leaders recognize when something is not working, and are able to adjust on the fly, then craft a new approach.  This is not always easy, but highly effective leaders are flexible and resilient.

In the current crisis, things are changing so quickly—literally day by day and sometimes more often—that even the most seasoned leaders may struggle to adjust to new realities.  While your teams will look to you as the leader for guidance and “what’s next”, in the absence of a new plan, the communication and candor of the leader become paramount.

The authenticity of a leader sets the tone of an organization, and being out front and honest with your people will go a long way towards keeping them in the fold and moving forward.   These are indeed trying times for everyone at every level, and surely for leaders of enterprises both large and small.  We will get through this—not without impacts in still unknown ways—and the fundamentals of crisis leadership will be critical for leading your teams into the future.

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.

 

 

 

 

Provident Bank Names New CHRO

Iselin, NJ, March 19, 2020 — Provident Bank, a leading New Jersey-based financial institution, announced today that Carolyn Powell of Mendham, N.J. has joined the bank as Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer.  Ms. Powell will be based in the bank’s Iselin, N.J. administrative headquarters.  Ms. Powell will be responsible for the organization’s overall HR strategy, including talent acquisition and development, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and HR technology.  As a member of the Executive Management Team, she will help build an engaged, inclusive, and high-performing culture, and will focus on developing and refining the bank’s diversity and inclusion strategy.

“I am pleased to welcome Carolyn to Provident.  She understands dynamic and diverse organizations and knows what it takes to build a best-in-class organizational culture,” said John Kuntz, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer.  “Her expertise in establishing and transforming human resources functions will be a welcome addition as we look to attract, engage, and develop top talent,” added Kuntz.

Ms. Powell brings more than 25 years of experience in human resources and organizational strategy to the bank.  Most recently, she served as Vice President, Human Resources, with Conduent, a leading business services and solutions company with 65,000 employees worldwide.  Ms. Powell has also held senior leadership roles with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of N.J., Dun & Bradstreet, and ADP.

Ms. Powell holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Boston University.  She is active in the HR community and is a Certified Executive Coach and Certified Sales Leadership Performance Coach.  Ms. Powell also holds a certification as a Human Capital Strategist from the Human Capital Institute, and a Human Resources Certification from Fairleigh Dickinson University.  In addition, she is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

About Provident Bank

Provident Bank, a community-oriented financial institution offering “Commitment you can count on” since 1839, is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), which reported assets of $9.81 billion as of December 31, 2019. With $7.10 billion in deposits, Provident Bank provides a comprehensive suite of financial products and services through its network of branches throughout northern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The Bank also provides fiduciary and wealth management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Beacon Trust Company.  For more information about Provident Bank, visit www.provident.bank or join the conversations on Facebook (ProvidentBank) and Twitter (@ProvidentBank).

 

 

New Chief Banking Officer at Bankwell

March 11, 2020   New Canaan, CT  —  Matthew J. McNeill has been appointed to Executive Vice President, Chief Banking Officer at Bankwell, announced Christopher R. Gruseke, President and CEO of Bankwell and its parent company, Bankwell Financial Group. In his new capacity, Mr. McNeill will join Bankwell’s Executive Team and report to Mr. Gruseke.

Mr. McNeill was most recently Head of Commercial Lending at Metropolitan Commercial Bank in New York where he was responsible for managing all aspects of commercial banking for a $3.2 Billion commercial bank; including commercial lending, cash management, commercial deposits and consumer lending.   During his 20 year banking career, he previously served as Senior Commercial Relationship Manager at HSBC, a Business Banker at Santander and a Managing Partner at American Real Estate Lending.

As Chief Banking Officer, Mr. McNeill will oversee Bankwell’s C&I Lending Business, Commercial Real Estate Lending Business, Small Business Lending, Treasury Management and Business Development teams.

Mr. Gruseke stated, “We are excited to welcome Matt to the Bankwell management team. A proven winner, Matt has demonstrated his ability to build successful lending teams and to deepen customer relationships. Bankwell’s addition of Matt as Chief Banking Officer represents a critical step toward achieving our strategic goal of becoming a more commercially-focused community bank.”

“I’m thrilled to join such a dynamic and accomplished Bankwell team. I look forward to becoming part of the company’s continued success,” said Mr. McNeill.

Mr. McNeill resides in New Canaan, CT with his wife and son. He is a member of NYS Society of CPAs, where he serves as a member of the Real Estate, Banking and Healthcare Committee.

Bankwell is a community bank that serves the banking and lending needs of businesses and residents throughout Connecticut. More about Bankwell can be found at www.mybankwell.com.

 

Current Searches 2020

This list highlights some of our current search assignments. If you think you are well qualified for one of these opportunities, you may e-mail your resume to Kaplan Partners for potential consideration. In addition, if you know someone who might be a prospective contender for one these roles, please make a confidential connection.

  • President of Community Banking, Large Regional Bank
  • President, Insurance Brokerage Firm
  • Chief Financial Officer, Regional Bank
  • President & CEO, Community Bank
  • Vice President, Finance, Public Utility
  • Chief Banking Officer, Regional Bank

Board Governance For The New Year

<To view the article in its published format, click here Governance For The New Year>

Business conditions, financial markets and competitive landscapes are always changing. But perhaps there is no arena of business undergoing a more significant transformation at the moment than corporate governance.

Whether driven by activists investors, regulators, institutional shareholders, governance gadflies or best practices, corporate governance is in the crosshairs for many organizations today. And in the banking sector — where some in Washington have placed a bullseye on the industry’s back — an enhanced focus on governance is the order of the day.

Bank boards today would be well served to pay close attention to three important aspects of governance: board composition, size and director age and tenure. When left to their own devices, too often inertia will set in, causing boards to ignore needed enhancements to corporate governance and boardroom performance. Even in the private company and mutual space, there is room for improvement and incorporation of best practices if a bank wants to continue to remain strong and independent.

<To read the article in its published format, click here Board Governance For The New Year>

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.

1st Colonial Bancorp Appoints Bob White as CEO

Collingswood, N.J. — January 29, 2020 — The Boards of Directors of 1st Colonial Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: FCOB) and its subsidiary, 1st Colonial Community Bank, today announced that they have appointed Robert B. White as the president and chief executive officer of both the holding company and the bank, effective February 3, 2020. He succeeds Gerard M. Banmiller, the current president and chief executive officer of both companies, who is retiring. Mr. White brings 30 years of experience in banking and financial services with him to 1st Colonial.

Most recently, White served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer for Customers Bank, a commercial bank headquartered in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania with over $11 billion in assets. While at Customers Bank, he oversaw all risk management functions, including compliance, credit/loan review, and third-party risk management, for a rapidly growing and profitable community bank. He was also president of the Bank’s Special Assets Group, which managed and substantially reduced the Bank’s non-performing assets. For several years he also served as the Bank’s Director of Corporate Development in charge of the Bank’s acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

Chairman Linda Rohrer commented, “We are very pleased that Bob White has agreed to become our new CEO. We looked at many candidates, and believe that he is the one best suited to lead 1st Colonial into this new chapter for our bank. He is a results-driven banker with a strong credit background. Also, his extensive risk management experience will be invaluable to our Board. We thank Gerry Banmiller very much for all his leadership and guidance over these last 20 years, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”

The Board of Directors of 1st Colonial Bancorp also announced that it has declared a five percent (5%) stock dividend to the company’s shareholders. The dividend will be distributed on all issued and outstanding shares held of record as of April 1, 2020 and will be payable on April 15, 2020. Accordingly, each shareholder as of the record date will receive one share of common stock for every 20 shares of common stock that they own on that date, plus an additional share in lieu of any fractional share payable to the shareholder.

1st Colonial Community Bank, the subsidiary of 1st Colonial Bancorp, provides a range of business and consumer financial services, placing emphasis on customer service and access to decision makers. Headquartered in Collingswood, New Jersey, the Bank also has a branch in the New Jersey community of Westville and administrative offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. To learn more, call (856) 858-8402 or visit www.1stcolonial.com.

KAPLAN PARTNERS ANNOUNCES NICHOLAS DEMEDIO JOINS AS PRINCIPAL

 

Wynnewood, PA – January 22, 2020 – Kaplan Partners, a leading boutique executive search and talent advisory firm, today announced Nicholas DeMedio (“Nick”) joining the firm as a Principal. With more than 20 years of Executive Search, Talent Management and Human Resources experience, Nick comes from Mosteller & Associates where he oversaw the financial services executive search practice for the regional Human Resources consulting firm. In this role, Nick led a number of Chief Executive Officer and C-Level searches, working directly with Boards of Directors and Executive Management teams in all facets of senior level recruiting, executive compensation and talent consulting.

Nick previously served as a senior executive at Royal Bank America, a publicly traded community bank based in suburban Philadelphia. In this key leadership role, Nick managed both strategic and hands-on initiatives of the human resources department, including executive recruiting, the design and administration of both executive and staff compensation and benefits infrastructure, executive on-boarding, talent management and succession planning.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nick to the Kaplan Partners team,” said Alan J. Kaplan, founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners. “His experience lends itself well to the firm’s high standards for advising CEOs and boards on leadership succession, corporate governance, talent management, and enhancing diversity. Nick’s combination of experiences as both a trusted advisor and human resources leader will significantly benefit our clients.”

Nick holds a Bachelor of Business of Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management from Temple University, as well as the Senior Professional of Human Resources (“SPHR”) certification from the Society of Human Resources Management.

ABOUT KAPLAN PARTNERS
For 25 years, Kaplan Partners has served as strategic human capital advisors specializing in Executive Search, Board Advisory Services, and Management Assessment and Succession Planning for the nation’s leading institutions, including: regional and community banks, asset management firms, private equity and venture capital firms, FinTech firms, mortgage and insurance companies, credit unions, technology companies and high growth organizations. Kaplan Partners employs a holistic approach and proven methodology to find the best solutions in support of evolving client leadership needs. The firm works directly with CEOs, boards, and investors to identify and evaluate leadership potential, leveraging best practices in corporate governance and succession management to ensure its clients’ continued success in today’s demanding markets. Visit here: www.kaplanpartners.com.

 

 

Integrated Talent Management

Mixing talent with business

In scattered HR departments across the country, professionals are hoping some daunting numbers will spur executives to embrace a bold approach to integrated talent management. Although we’ve seen it coming for years, companies have been forced to appreciate the magnitude – and feel the acute impact – of baby boomer retirements. America’s 80 million boomers are expected to retire at a rate of about 10,000 people per day over the next 19 years, undoubtedly leaving talent gaps in many organizations.

That trend will require companies to embrace bolder talent strategies. “In the past, companies have created business forecasts, then developed talent strategies to support those,” said Mindy Mazer, Corporate Director of Talent Acquisition at AMETEK, Inc. and a former talent executive with several, large Philadelphia companies. “With the changing demographics and the talent pool becoming much more competitive, companies are going to have to do a different kind of planning.”

But how can you integrate your talent strategy with your business strategy and avoid talent shortfalls?

Mine the data

Analyze your existing talent pool and long-term talent needs. This analysis should include demographics of current staff in all segments of your business, turnover rates and costs, existing skills, scarce skills, existing or looming management gaps, and the adequacy of the talent queued up to assume greater roles inside the organization. Also assess the attributes that will be needed to thrive in a rapidly changing economy.

Such data can highlight emerging talent gaps and provide the foundation for strategies to acquire the right talent to meet business goals.

Invest in potential

Armed with that forecast of your talent needs, refine your recruiting, retention, training, succession planning, employee benefits and other talent programs to target emerging talent gaps and workforce realities. This, Mazer warns, is a daunting job and can require fundamental changes to established business practices.

The anticipated shortage of experienced employees and senior-level managers, for example, is prompting some companies to shift their recruiting programs to focus primarily on fresh college graduates and “young potentials.” In conjunction, firms are creating extensive development programs to help those junior employees gain subject-matter, project-management and leadership skills.

“This approach requires companies to think differently. It requires funding and it’s more proactive than many companies tend to be,” Mazer said. The payoff, however, could be the creation of a “bench of talent” tailored to advance your company’s strategic goals.