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.

Compensation Committee Rebrand

<To view the article in its published format, click here Why the Compensation Committee Needs a Rebrand >

Publicly traded businesses have long been mandated to have a compensation committee which reviews and sets the pay and benefits for corporate executives, and most non-public financial institutions have followed suit.

Most “comp committees,” as they are affectionately called, spend the vast majority of their time focused on the institution’s pay practices — including establishing competitive salary levels and crafting appropriate short- and long-term incentives that drive performance. While this core function of the comp committee remains relevant, it is time to change the focus of the committee.

The compensation committee label suggests that the focus of committee and board should be on paying executives properly. However, any good human resources leader would point out that compensation is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to attracting, developing, motivating and retaining top talent. In today’s highly competitive banking talent environment, the board and compensation committees should broaden their focus to reflect this dynamic.

<To read the Article in its published format, click here:  Why the Compensation Committee Needs a Rebrand>

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.

 

Strategies for Winning the War for Talent

Talent Shortage Strategies

<To view the Article in its published format, click here:  Winning the War for Talent-MMG>

A decreasing unemployment rate, an aging baby boomer workforce, and the rise of technology and the gig economy have all been cited as reasons for the current talent shortage. But as the war for talent gets even more challenging, there are strategies that companies and private equity firms can employ to ensure they are recruiting, retaining and developing the right talent for their organization. These strategies were the topic of ACG Philadelphia’s January breakfast briefing, “Winning the War for Talent,” which was moderated by Alissa Moody, a partner at executive search firm JM Search.

Featured speakers included Michael Haugen, partner, ghSmart; Alan J. Kaplan, founder and CEO, Kaplan Partners; and Tish Squillaro, founder and CEO, CANDOR Consulting.

Groom and Develop Your Own Talent
While the talent shortage has caused many companies to work even harder to bring in the best new hires, less attention has been paid to grooming current employees for future leadership roles. Kaplan said that among his clients, he sees “a lot more talk than action when it comes to talent development internally.” Squillaro noted that internal talent development and external talent searches do not fall under an “either/or” construct—by developing internal talent in parallel with your external searches, you are able to better see your talent gaps and fill them effectively.

<To read the Article in its published format, click here:  Winning the War for Talent-MMG>

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.

Why Directors Should Not Fear Board Evaluations

In governance circles today, the conversations about board performance continue to advance.

<To view the Article in its published format, click here:  Why Directors Should Not Fear Board Evaluations >

Governance advocates, proxy advisors and institutional investors encourage varying approaches to evaluating directors, assessing board effectiveness, and raising the bar on expectations for director contributions and performance.

Many community bank directors, however, are reticent to go down the board assessment path, fearing that the process will somehow result in their removal from the bank’s board. The goal of any evaluation, however, should not necessarily be to weed out directors, but rather to highlight areas for board and director improvement, and encourage continual forward movement on good governance.

In our view, there are three general types, or levels, of board evaluation to consider:

Level 1: A general assessment of the board overall and how the group is functioning. This evaluation might include areas such as:
 Do we have the right committee structure, leadership and meeting frequency?
 Are we as a board focusing our time on the correct and critical topics?
 Do we have an appropriate and valuable range of skills and experiences around the board table to govern effectively in today’s industry climate?

<To read the Article in its published format, click here: Why Directors Should Not Fear Board Evaluations >

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.

7 Things Bank Boards Should Focus on

The world of corporate governance today has a brighter spotlight on boards of directors than ever before.

<To view the Article in its published format, click here:  7 Things Bank Boards Should Focus on>

The world of corporate governance today has a brighter spotlight on boards of directors than ever before. While bank regulatory relief has provided a long-awaited respite, bank examiners seem to be zeroing in on governance, director performance and board succession. Here are 7 things directors should have on their radar screens in the year ahead:

1. Defining Innovation. Digitization and innovation are the buzzwords, but truly embracing the transformations taking place all around us can be daunting. Pondering how technology has altered our client relationships and acquisitions means thinking out of the box, which may be a challenge for some directors and bank executives. A refresh of the bank’s website is not an innovation—it is table stakes. True innovative thinking requires more proactivity and planning, and likely some outside perspectives as well. Boards should encourage management to craft a plan to address to these challenges, which are key to remaining relevant.

<To read the Article in its published format, click here:  7 Things Bank Boards Should Focus on>

This Article appeared on September 10, 2018 on BankDirector.com.

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm based in Philadelphia. Kaplan Partners is the country’s only retained executive search firm member of the ABA & ICBA. You can reach him at Alan@KaplanPartners.com or 610-642-5644.

Seven Secrets of Succession Success

A well-orchestrated plan of succession and leadership continuity reassures employees, investors and communities

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One of a bank board’s most vital responsibilities is overseeing the plan of succession for the CEO. Whether driven by a looming retirement or change in the incumbent’s personal timeline, a well-orchestrated plan of succession and leadership continuity reassures employees, investors and communities. Unfortunately,
too many bank boards still take a passive approach to CEO succession, rather than acknowledging that as directors, they are responsible for the selection and ongoing evaluation of CEO performance.

<To read the Article in its published format, click here: Seven Secrets of Succession Success>

This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of BankDirector.com, copyright 2018.

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm based in Philadelphia. Kaplan Partners is the country’s only retained executive search firm member of the ABA & ICBA. You can reach him at alan@KaplanPartners.com or 610-642-5644.

Does Your Bank Have A Dream Team

Assessing Your Bank’s Leadership Team is the Foundation of Successful Succession Planning

<To View the Article in its published format, click here: Dream Team Article A 8-2017>

Many bank Boards of Directors and CEOs are proud of their bank’s executive team. And rightly so! Yet frequently those feelings of pride dissolve into uncertainty when the bank is faced with the decision to promote a banker into a top executive position or even the CEO role.

How does this happen? Why do well laid out succession plans sometimes evaporate in the face of reality when the time to elevate someone finally arrives? One of the reasons, based on our experience working with hundreds of community bank boards and executive teams, is that directors are often missing context when faced with a promotion decision. The lack of relative perspective on comparative candidates for similar roles may at times impede the comfort level necessary for a board to validate a promotion decision.

<To Read the Article in its published format, click here:  Dream Team Article A 8-2017>

This article appeared in the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers Publication in 2017.

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm based in Philadelphia.  Kaplan Partners is the country’s only retained executive search firm member of the ABA & ICBA.  You can reach him at alan@KaplanPartners.com or 610-642-5644.

The Bank Director of the Future: Diversity of Experiences and Skill Sets Matter

<To View the Article in its published format, click here:  <The Bank Director of the Future Diversity of Experiences and Skill Sets>

While the requirements needed in a bank leader today continue to evolve, the same can also be said for bank directors. Boards of directors today are under more scrutiny than ever before, whether from governance advisors, shareholders, Wall Street analysts, activist investors, community leaders and customers. Even mutuals and privately held institutions face more visible scrutiny around corporate governance from their regulators and key constituents. Serving as a bank director today may still have a certain amount of prestige (depending on whom you ask), but the expectations for director performance and engagement have never been higher.

Community banks in particular tend to have long tenured board members—in many cases with decades of service. Continuity can be a good thing, provided the director skill sets continue to be relevant and the board does not become too close to the CEO, compromising objectivity. However, many bank boards have begun to focus more on the “collective skills” represented around the board table, and have started to emphasize a skill-based approach in making director retention and recruiting decisions.

<To Read the Complete Article in its published format, Click here:     <The Bank Director of the Future Diversity of Experiences and Skill Sets>

The article appeared in the February 2017 issue of BankDirector.com, copyright 2017

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm based in Philadelphia.  Kaplan Partners is the country’s only retained executive search firm member of the ABA & ICBA.  You can reach him at alan@KaplanPartners.com or 610-642-5644.

The Bank Executive of the Future: Agile and Focused on Talent

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Today’s bank leader remains under more pressure than at any time since the financial crisis. Tangible skills still matter, such as commercial credit experience, risk management and strategic planning.
Nevertheless, the real challenges may lie in developing the key leadership requirements for institutional success, and in the navigation of the managerial challenges which lie ahead. Here are three intangible but particularly important qualities for the future bank leader’s success.

<To Read the Complete Article in its published format, Click here:     <The Bank Executive of the Future Agile and Focused on Talent>

The Article appeared in the January 2017 issue of  BankDirector.com, Copyright 2017.

Alan J. Kaplan is founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm based in Philadelphia. Kaplan Partners is the country’s only retained executive search firm member of the ABA & ICBA. You can reach him at alan@KaplanPartners.com or 610-642-5644.

Meet the New Bank Executive

<To View the Article in its published format, click here:  Feature_Hiring_OctNov_Banking Exchange 2016  >

Today’s bank leader is under greater pressure than at any time since the financial crisis.  While the crisis itself was a hot mess, the banking climate remaining in the aftermath of the Great Recession has likely altered the course of the industry for decades to come.  The two most vital ingredients today for a bank’s long-term autonomy are capital and talent.  Without those two key elements, a bank’s future survival becomes much more of an uphill climb.

Much has and will continue to be written about the tangible banking skills and technical proficiencies which have become necessities for leaders in the industry today.  There’s a shopping list of experience with subjects such as regulatory relations, balance sheet management, capital strategy, commercial credit, investor relations, risk management, technology and strategic planning that are now considered “table stakes” for bank leaders and CEO contenders.  Despite this daunting plethora of needed banking skills, the real challenges lie in development of the key leadership requirements for institutional success, and in the navigation of the managerial challenges which lie ahead.

There is no shortage of experts touting their views on the vital leadership competencies of the day.  So we will focus here on three intangible but particularly important areas of emphasis in the human capital arena which are critical for the future bank leader’s success:  cultural agility, workforce flexibility and talent-centricity.

<To Read the Complete Article in its published format, Click here:    Feature_Hiring_OctNov_Banking Exchange 2016  >

The article appeared in the Oct./Nov. 2016 issue of Banking Exchange magazine, copyright 2016 by Simmons-Boardman Publishing.

 Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and talent advisory firm based in Philadelphia.  Kaplan Partners is the country’s only retained executive search firm member of the ABA & ICBA.  You can reach him at alan@KaplanPartners.com or 610-642-5644.