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American Savings Bank CEO Rich Wacker gets $5M and EEOC settlement

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  • Richard Wacker.

    Richard Wacker.

American Savings Bank President and CEO Rich Wacker, who was replaced at the close of business Friday by Executive Vice President of Operations Ann Teranishi, will receive a separation agreement worth $5 million, less applicable taxes, according to a regulatory filing Thursday by parent company Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.

Wacker, 58, had served as head of the state’s third-largest bank since 2010. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, HEI said the leadership transition “is part of a succession planning process and is not related to ASB’s operational performance or financial condition.”

He received a pay package worth just under $2 million in 2020, according to HEI’s latest proxy filing with the SEC.

A news release Thursday by ASB said that Wacker was leaving the company to “pursue other interests.” But Wacker said later in a phone interview that the timing of his departure was not his decision, he had no other jobs lined up, and that the board of directors decide the CEO. He added, though, that “Ann’s a great successor and I’m confident in her success.”

Teranishi, 46, has been at the bank for nearly 14 years.

In addition to the $5 million separation, HEI and ASB agreed to match charitable donations made by Wacker and his spouse, at a rate of $2 for every dollar donated, up to a maximum contribution by HEI and ASB of $1 million, the filing said. The separation agreement also provides for the settlement and release of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims by Wacker against HEI and ASB.

Wacker could not be immediately reached for comment today on the EEOC matter.

An American Savings Bank spokesperson said “the EEOC claim is confidential so we cannot comment on that. ASB (and HEI) take all allegations of discrimination seriously, standing on a clear record of hiring and showing respect for employees of all ages, races and abilities.”

A.J. Halagao, HEI vice president of corporate & community advancement, also issued a statement:

“Any allegation of discrimination involving HEI and ASB is handled thoughtfully for those concerned,” he said. “Our record is unambiguous that we treat all employees fairly and with the utmost respect.

“In keeping with the agreement, we are unable to comment on the claim that was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It’s important to note there’s no admission of wrongdoing by either party.”

The separation agreement also provides for certain agreements regarding confidentiality and nondisparagement, and restrictive agreements relating to noncompetition and nonsolicitation, the filing said.

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