Jack Murphy Named CEO of BankNewport

NEWPORT, R.I., April 1, 2021 – OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC and BankNewport announced today that John F. (Jack) Murphy will succeed Sandra J. Pattie as president and chief executive officer of both the Mutual Holding Company and the Bank, effective May 17, 2021.

“We are delighted to welcome Jack to BankNewport,” said Peter Capodilupo, Chairman of the Board at BankNewport.  “We are looking forward to Jack’s leadership, and are confident that his experience and perspective will further the success the Bank has enjoyed as the leading community bank in Rhode Island.”

Murphy will bring more than 30 years of financial services experience to BankNewport, most recently as President of Business Banking at Citizens Bank. During his career he has managed multiple lines of business including Small Business, Business Banking, Community Banking, Equipment Finance and Auto Finance.  Prior to his time at Citizens Bank, he held leadership positions at Santander Bank, TD Bank, JPMorgan Chase and American Express.  Murphy is a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont.  He and his wife, Kelly, reside in Duxbury, MA, where they have raised five children.

“I am thrilled to be joining BankNewport, whose reputation is among the best in the industry,” said Murphy.  “I was drawn to the Bank because of its unwavering commitment to the community, its customers and employees, and I intend to build upon the Bank’s foundation and long standing success.”

Pattie will retire from BankNewport after a 36-year career at the institution, beginning as a loan officer in 1984.  In 2012, she was named the first female President and CEO in the Bank’s history. 

About BankNewport:

Founded in 1819 and headquartered in Newport, BankNewport offers a full suite of loan and deposit products and services for families and businesses throughout Rhode Island.  With $2.0 billion in assets, BankNewport is one of the oldest community banks in the United States and, as a mutual organization, is committed to the financial success of its customers, employees and communities. BankNewport has 17 branch locations, with commercial lending offices in Cumberland and Providence.

BankNewport business lines include OceanPoint Marine Lending, specializing in consumer marine and recreational vehicle financing programs, and OceanPoint Insurance, a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency, providing a broad range of property casualty insurance products, including employee benefits and marine related insurance products.

Northwest Bank Names Chief Marketing Officer

Warren, PA —  March 22, 2021 — Devin Cygnar has joined Northwest Bank as Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer.  Devin has nearly 25 years of progressive marketing experience across consumer, small business and mortgage banking within organizations of varying sizes, including PNC Bank and Fifth Third. 

Most recently, Devin served as senior vice president, head of marketing and corporate communications for ServiceLink, a division of Fidelity National Financial. There, he successfully launched a robust digital marketing strategy, including website, social media, data-driven targeting and virtual events. With the addition of Devin, Northwest Bank will align marketing under leadership who will blend knowledge and experience with Northwest’s culture and the bank’s vision for the future.  

Active in his community, Devin serves on the board of the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra and is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh. He lives in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania with his family, and will relocate to Columbus, Ohio over the summer.

Northwest Bank operates 162 full-service offices and 8 free-standing drive through locations. Founded in 1896, Northwest offers a complete line of personal and business banking products including employee benefits, investment management services, insurance and trust. Northwest Bancshares, Inc. is the holding company of Northwest and is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market as NWBI. More information about Northwest can be found online at www.northwest.com.

Finding the Right Fit with Alan J. Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners

By Jeremy Weisz, Achieve NEXT

Alan J. Kaplan

Alan J. Kaplan is the Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners, an executive search and board advisory firm. Alan launched Kaplan Partners in 1994 after beginning his corporate banking career with First Pennsylvania Bank and Meritor/PSFS. Since then, he has built Kaplan Partners into a nationally recognized boutique firm that has been named five times to the Philadelphia100® as one of the region’s fastest-growing private companies.

In addition to this, Alan serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Philadelphia Chapter, and the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Temple University Fox School of Business. Alan is also a frequent speaker, a guest columnist, and the host of KYW Newsradio’s Career Report, a weekly business commentary on leadership and career management.

guest columnist, and the host of KYW Newsradio’s Career Report, a weekly business commentary on leadership and career management.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Alan J. Kaplan describes how he first got involved in corporate matchmaking
  • Alan’s advice for people starting out on the path of entrepreneurship
  • Strategies for making each new hire a win for everyone involved
  • How has innovation in technology impacted talent acquisition over the last few years?
  • Why finding the right fit is more complex than you might think
  • How the pandemic has shifted the way businesses make hiring decisions—and which changes are here to stay
  • Alan shares his thoughts on how companies can better support a multigenerational workforce
  • How today’s employers and employees should prepare for the post-pandemic job market
  • The importance of updating company boards to represent a more diverse perspective and reflect current skill sets
  • Alan’s tips for professionals who are looking to get into the executive search business

In this episode…

The word “fit” is used to describe everything from the perfect pair of jeans to the new hire for your company. Regardless of what you’re searching for, finding the right fit takes time, determination, and a certain level of skill. That’s why having a qualified team to help with important decisions like matching the right person to the job can make a huge difference.

When it comes to talent acquisition, Alan J. Kaplan understands that finding the right fit is a more involved process than simply matching qualifications. Alan and his team look at everything from company culture to leadership competencies in order to determine a fit that will result in a win for everyone involved. For Alan, it’s not about finding a temporary solution. His goal is to create lifelong relationships that benefit his company, the organizations he works with, and the candidates who rely on his matchmaking abilities.

On this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco interviews Alan J. Kaplan, the Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners, about corporate matchmaking and the ever-evolving job market. Alan explains how the pandemic has shifted the way companies are hiring, the impact of recent technology on talent acquisition, and why finding the right person for the job is a complex process. Plus, Alan shares his advice for companies looking to create a more supportive environment for a diverse workforce. Stay tuned!

Listen to the Podcast here:


Distracted: Don’t let apps and e-mail kill your productivity

When discussing the impact of the Internet on the lives of American workers, Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain often quotes Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Despite all the business potential of the Internet, the Information Age has turned into the Age of Distraction. E-mail, social networks and instant messaging apps have become the source of near-constant interruptions. The average American worker handles 121 e-mails per day, checks their phone for e-mail and other posts 150 times a day, and spends 28 percent of each workday just handling electronic messages.

That deluge can make it nearly impossible to stay on track with work tasks or devote significant, focused time to priority projects. Studies warn it has caused business professionals’ attention spans to shorten to just seven minutes. Furthermore, workers who switch tasks due to digital distractions, can take 20-120 minutes to get back to their initial, core work.

So how can you combat those distractions and rebuild productivity?

Focus on meaningful work

More than ever, it is important to make sure workers have a clear vision of company mission and strategic goals, and how they can channel their unique abilities and prioritize their daily activities to advance that mission. Consider offering employees attention-management training to help them limit distractions and increase their ability to remain focused on a single task longer, stick to priority activities and generate higher quality results.

Schedule quality time

Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and author of “Never Check E-mail in the Morning,” recommends establishing a practice of setting aside at least an hour each morning for quiet, focused, priority work. Teams or individuals can set their own schedules for that quality time, and others know not to interrupt them for non-emergency issues.

Revive the concept of business hours

Everyone needs time to disconnect and recharge. Consider limiting e-mail usage to certain times of day and make sure employees understand they are not obliged to read or respond to e-mail outside of those hours. Furthermore, remind employees that the company has set work hours, follow them yourself, and make after-hours work the exception and not the rule.

It is possible to diminish the wave of frenetic, digital disruptions in our work days. Making that effort could provide you with a more focused, more productive and happier work force.

The Definition of a Great Board: 2021 Edition

The role of a board member of any organization is constantly evolving.  Economic cycles, leadership transitions, market dynamics, competitive changes, governance activists and even political shifts can impact board composition and best practices in corporate governance seemingly out of the blue.  Then add the unexpected challenges of a global pandemic, and the environment changes quickly again.

There are certain constants, however, which have proven useful over time as essential elements of the most successful boards.  In defining a great board, we suggest these for your consideration:

Governance as a defining characteristic of a high performing board may feel like stating the obvious.  Except the board’s role is precisely that—to govern and not manage.  The old saying “nose in, fingers out” still rings true today.  Boards exist in large part to oversee management on critical issues such as strategy, risk, CEO succession and transactions, and to provide sound counsel to the CEO and leadership team.  Despite what some directors may still think, the board’s job is to guide and advise management and not to run the business.

R  Risk is a critical aspect of appropriate board oversight, and has become increasingly more complex over time.  The impact of a “black swan” event like we have recently experienced with the global pandemic is a prime example.  Boards should be regularly updated on the strategic risks facing the company, and must ensure that appropriate procedures for compliance, controls and reporting are in place and functioning well across the organization.

E  Engagement as a director is often overlooked.  Throughout our firm’s experience advising boards, it is all too common that we encounter directors who are simply not engaged in governing.  Often these Directors do not properly prepare for meetings, worry about the time and length of the meeting, and do not partake in constructive conversations.  Whether due to overly lengthy board tenure or outdated skills, a lack of consistent engagement may drive consideration for offboarding.

A  Accountability.  Boards in some organizations do not hold management truly accountable for results, which is a crucial element of governing.  Such boards at times may find excuses for poor performance or reward management for underperformance or tenure, rather than pushing back to explore why goals may not have been achieved. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons why an organization does not perform (external factors; lack of resources; faulty expectations; global pandemic, etc.). Boards need to make sure the company leaders have what is needed to succeed going forward, and then hold them accountable to deliver.

Talent-Centric.  Well-governed organizations have boards that are consistently focused on CEO succession and executive talent development.  Some firms are so focused on crafting an awesome strategy that they forget about the other side of the coin—execution of the plan.  Talent is the biggest variable in execution, and boards need to make sure that the CEO and leadership team are consistently focused on and held accountable for the attraction, development and retention of talent above the norm.

B  Broadly-skilled boards are comprised of people with an appropriate mix of relevant talents and experiences, to enable proper guidance and provide a variety of useful viewpoints.  This skill mix should be both functional (for example, financial, technology, marketing, human resources) as well as industry (reflecting competitive dynamics, customer segments, emerging markets, etc.).  Too many directors with similar backgrounds, or a lack of broad and current skills, compromises the value derived from the board table.

O  Open-Minded.  Boards benefit from directors who are informed, insightful, and inquisitive.  In other words, willing to challenge assumptions, consider new ideas and approaches, and are able to think outside the box.  A room full of directors with blinders on, who operate with “group think,” or who want to pretend that this is still “the good old days” does not enhance governance or add value.

A  Awareness of the dynamics taking place outside the organization is important as well. This may apply to the competitive landscape in your market or industry, or knowledge of the external factors which could significantly impact the business. Also included here could be the potential for regulatory impact or strategic transactions—wanted or unwanted—which could quickly reshape the organization.  Ongoing director education to remain current and relevant is critical.

R  Respectful.  Often times boards are called upon to make tough calls, or push back on management regarding critical issues.  These types of messages are never easy, but need to be delivered firmly yet respectfully.  Boards have an obligation to be courageous in the face of difficult decisions which may arise, including at times whether to allow underperforming directors to continue serving. Respect also needs to extend to the viewpoints of other directors, always, even when disagreeing.

D  Diversity is the order of the day!  As has been well documented, boards comprised of leaders with diverse perspectives generally make better decisions.  Boards representing of a robust variety of backgrounds and life experiences—whether diverse by race, gender, ethnicity, or other criteria, are not only appropriate but vital for success in today’s business and social climate.  In addition, having diverse role models on the board and at the top of the organization sends a very strong positive message to current and prospective employees.

The willingness to truly govern and tackle the important business challenges are hallmarks of great boards.  However, the dynamics of crafting a board with the right blend of skills, relevant experiences and diverse perspectives remains difficult for many institutions.  A thoughtful approach to board composition, recruitment and succession will enhance both the quality of corporate governance as well as organizational performance.

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

Penn Community Bank Welcomes New Directors

Perkasie, Pa., January 28, 2021Penn Community Bank, the largest mutual bank headquartered in eastern Pennsylvania, is proud to welcome Kelly Finch Mobley and Brian G. Peirce to its Board of Directors.

“We are pleased to welcome Kelly and Brian to Penn Community Bank’s board,” said Bill Larkin, Chair of the Penn Community Bank Board of Directors. “Both bring a wealth of business and community experience and will immediately make a positive impact as we work to ensure Penn Community Bank remains the leading independent, mutual bank in the region.”

“At Penn Community Bank, we’re committed to our long-term mission of serving as a catalyst for growth and functioning as an integral part of the local economy,” said Jeane M. Vidoni, Penn Community Bank president and CEO. “Kelly and Brian share our core values and their impressive backgrounds will provide important new strategic voices to the conversation of how we deliver Penn Community Bank’s mission to more individuals, families, businesses, and communities throughout our markets.”

Mobley joins Penn Community Bank with over 35 years of experience in financial services, most recently serving as Executive Vice President, Director of Retail Workforce Readiness with PNC Bank, N.A. She serves on the boards of Ursinus College, Fortress Arts Academy, and the Philadelphia Dance Company. Mobley holds a BS in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Ursinus College and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Peirce is the president and CEO of Montgomery Co.-based Peirce-Phelps, LLC. one of the nation’s largest distributors of HVAC equipment, parts and supplies. He serves on the board of Airline Hydraulics and is the past chairman of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). Peirce holds a BA in economics from Franklin and Marshall College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

About Penn Community Bank: Penn Community Bank holds more than $2.5 billion in assets, employs more than 300 people, and offers banking, lending and investments at 22 bank branches and three administrative centers throughout Bucks and Montgomery counties, Pennsylvania. As an independent, mutual financial institution, Penn Community Bank is not publicly traded and operates with its long-term mission in mind: to help businesses grow and prosper, to provide financial resources to individuals and families throughout their lifetimes, to strengthen the local economy, and to partner with local organizations to act as a catalyst for positive growth in every market it serves.

Northwest Bank Names EVP & Chief Human Resources Officer

Warren, PA —  January 21, 2021 — Kyle Kane has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Northwest Bank, according to Ronald J. Seiffert, Northwest President and CEO.  In his role, Mr. Kane will be responsible for the development and execution of the bank’s strategy for talent acquisition, development and retention and will manage all key functions of its Human Resources Department, including employee inclusion and engagement, compensation and benefits, succession planning, compliance and operations.

Northwest Bank conducted a nationwide search to identify the bank’s next human resources leader with the assistance of Kaplan Partners, a nationally known boutique retained executive search and board advisory firm specializing in the financial services sector.

Throughout his 25-year career, Mr. Kane has gained extensive knowledge and experience in designing the human resources agenda for complex businesses within multifaceted global organizations. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Global Human Resources for Diebold Nixdorf, headquartered in North Canton, OH, an American multinational financial & retail technology company specializing in the sale, manufacture, installation and service of self-service transaction systems such as ATMs. During his tenure with Diebold Nixdorf, he led several strategic HR initiatives including organizational transformation, cultural change management and mergers and acquisitions.

Previously, Mr. Kane served as Senior Vice President and the Head of Human Resources for Global Business Services at Fidelity Investments. In this role, he led an HR organization supporting over 6,000 employees across India, Ireland and China.

In making the announcement, Mr. Seiffert said, “At Northwest, our people are our greatest resource and the key to our success. Kyle’s proven leadership in managing HR strategy to align with business objectives will be indispensable as we evolve our company culture and customer experience.”

“Building a high-performance culture where employees can contribute and grow – and feel valued — is critical to becoming a company that sets itself apart,” Mr. Kane said. “I’m thrilled to join the impressive team at Northwest to help lead its transformation.”

Mr. Kane earned a Marketing degree from Stonehill College and has completed executive development programs in organizational effectiveness, leadership and change management. He resides in Hudson, OH, with his wife and their two children.

Northwest Bank operates 162 full-service offices and 8 free-standing drive through locations. Founded in 1896, Northwest offers a complete line of personal and business banking products including employee benefits, investment management services, insurance and trust. Northwest Bancshares, Inc. is the holding company of Northwest and is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market as NWBI. More information about Northwest can be found online at www.northwest.com.

Essex Savings Bank Announces Successor to President & CEO

Essex, CT — January 14, 2021  — The Board of Directors of Essex Savings Bank is pleased to announce that Diane Arnold, Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer of Essex Savings Bank, will be assuming the role of President and CEO in July 2021, upon the retirement of current President and CEO Gregory Shook.

Mr. Shook has served in his role for 21 years overseeing steady growth in deposits and loans, geographic expansion, the development of the Trust Department with over $600 million in assets, and integration with Essex Financial Services, its wholly-owned wealth management subsidiary with over $2.8 billion of managed assets. In addition to inheriting Mr. Shook’s role, Ms. Arnold will also serve on the Board of Essex Savings Bank, and on the Board of Essex Financial Services, Inc. 

Douglas Paul, Chairman of the Essex Savings Bank Board of Directors, stated, “Greg Shook has been an exemplary leader, and our Board engaged in a very extensive and comprehensive process to select his successor. Ms. Arnold is an outstanding choice with the attributes and qualities necessary to propel Essex Savings Bank into the next era of banking as a leading community bank.”

Ms. Arnold began her banking career in 1983 and she worked in a variety of departments at two different banks before joining Essex Savings Bank in 2002, where she ultimately rose to her current position. During her 19 years at the bank, she has been particularly influential in developing the commercial loan portfolio and in mentoring many individuals. She has been involved in a number of community organizations for many years, and in 2017 she received a Women of Fire Award, recognizing key female leaders in the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors.

Ms. Arnold earned a B.S. degree in Economics from Quinnipiac College and is also a graduate of the Connecticut School of Finance and Management. “I am honored to have been selected by the Board to assume the role of President and CEO upon Greg Shook’s retirement,” said Ms. Arnold. “I look forward to building upon our solid foundation of serving the local community and continuing to flourish in an ever-changing banking environment.” Mr. Shook stated: “I am so pleased the Board has selected Diane Arnold as the next President and CEO and the first woman to serve in this role at our institution. I have known Diane for many years and look forward to working with her to insure a smooth and successful transition.”  

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Division, Essex Trust and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc.