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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Pacific Century president departing

By Frank Cho
Advertiser Staff Writer

DAHL: Presided over recent divestitures
Richard Dahl, chief architect of Pacific Century Financial Corp.'s rapid expansion and later withdrawal from the Pacific Rim over the past eight years, said yesterday he will step down as president of the bank after 21 years with the company.

Dahl's resignation will end his reign as the bank's No. 2 executive during some of the most tumultuous times in the company's history.

Over the past year, Dahl has been working full-time on divesting many of the overseas operations he and his predecessors had acquired over the past 30 years. Those divestitures freed more than $400 million in capital to strengthen the company financially and helped convince regulators to end more than a year of increased oversight of the company.

"I have the highest regard for Richard and what he's accomplished," said Michael O'Neill, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement yesterday. "He did a first-class job in handling what turned out to be, in some cases, very complex deals."

O'Neill, who will assume the title of president, said he does not plan to begin a search right away for a replacement for Dahl. But the person who eventually fills the position as president will become O'Neill's successor.

"I think what I am going to do is evaluate the people who are here and some point we are going to be ready to (name a president) to make management succession clear. But that is not going to happen for a good long time," O'Neill said.

Dahl's departure will leave Alton Kuioka, the company's vice chairman for commercial banking, the only remaining executive from former CEO Lawrence Johnson's management team. It was under Johnson, who resigned in 2000, that the company eliminated more than 1,000 jobs and suffered huge losses due to asset quality problems, which drew the attention of federal banking regulators.

Dahl, who will spend the next two months finalizing details related to the bank's divestitures, said he intends to seek other opportunities working for companies with interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

A native of Idaho, Dahl arrived in Hawai'i in 1974 as a staff auditor at Ernst & Ernst and then was made manager in the accounting firm's audit department. His most important client was Bank of Hawaii, the state's largest bank at the time.

Dahl eventually joined Bank of Hawaii, Pacific Century's primary subsidiary, in 1981 as a vice president and controller. He was named executive vice president and chief financial officer in 1987. He was named president of the bank and the holding company in 1994 and was in line to succeed Johnson.