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Bank to consider adding director

Bank of Santa Clarita might also add 12th board position

Posted: July 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Shareholders are being asked to appoint James Bryan Batey, of Bakersfield, as a new member to the Bank of Santa Clarita’s board of directors at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday.

Only 11 board members are allowed under the present bylaws. James Hicken, however, former president and CEO of the bank, is no longer a member of the board, according to the bank’s listing of its board members.

Hicken confirmed by email that he resigned from the board “toward the end of May,” but did not offer a reason for his departure. Hicken’s absence from the board creates an opening for Batey.

“Jim’s not on the slate, but I can’t comment further,” said Walt Purdy, senior vice president and CFO.

The bank is also asking shareholders next week to add a 12th position to the board, although doing so is unnecessary to replace Hicken.

Adding a 12th position gives the bank the flexibility to add a director when the time is right, Purdy said.

Earlier this year, two of the bank’s top executives, who were members of the team that founded the bank, left abruptly. Kimberly Altobello reported she was asked to leave Feb. 24. On April 6, the bank announced the departure of Hicken.

Changes were made by the board of directors, the executive chairman and CEO Frank Di Tomaso said in April. The executives’ visions did not coincide, and the changes on the leadership team were made to streamline operations and reduce management tiers, Di Tomaso said.

The position of president remains open.

Placing people on the board from diverse backgrounds and geographic areas helps when the bank begins to expand into preferred markets, Di Tomaso said, in an earlier interview.

The markets he identified were northern Los Angeles County, Ventura County and the Antelope Valley. Batey’s hometown of Bakersfield lies outside that target area for growth.

The bank has “no specific intention or has identified any particular acquisition,” Purdy said when asked how Batey’s appointment helped the bank grow in its target markets.

“It just allows it to stick your toe in the pool of another market place,” he said.

Bank shares closed at $7.11 at close trading Friday. Shares were trading at $7.80 on April 9 when the bank announced the management changes.

Shares of the bank, however, have steadily climbed since Jan. 13, when they traded for $6.15 per share.



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