David Porteous, the lead director on $188.5 billion Huntington Bancshares’ board of directors, has a deep reservoir of experience in both corporate and public sector governance. He joined the Columbus, Ohio-based board in 2003, and became lead director in 2007, just as the bank was emerging from the financial crisis with some significant battle scars.
So, when Porteous talks about corporate governance and the challenges facing bank directors, it pays to listen closely.
In this edition of The Slant Podcast, Porteous talks about his board experience at Huntington, including his relationship with Chairman and CEO Stephen Steinour.
According to Porteous, a critical component of the bank’s governance culture is transparency and a broad level of engagement between the CEO, board and senior executive team.
“When Steve was hired…the commitment that Steve made to us and we made to him as a board was to ensure that [we] had an open, transparent, engaging relationship, Porteous says. “I talk to him at least every week, usually for an hour or more, and sometimes multiple times.”
Huntington has also made a big commitment to environmental, social and governance issues – known as ESG for short. Some conservative commentators speculated that Silicon Valley Bank’s commitment to ESG issues distracted the board and senior management team from more fundamental concerns and played a role in the bank’s failure earlier this year.
For his part, Porteous rejects the idea that focusing on ESG is a distraction. “I view [ESG] as table stakes if you want to call it that,” he says. “It makes organizations stronger. It’s not a distraction.”
This episode, and all past episodes of The Slant Podcast, are available on BankDirector.com, Spotify and Apple Music.