Chaney & Hairston Named CEOs Of Hancock Holding Company

The board of directors of Hancock Holding Company, parent company of 108-year-old Hancock Bank, has named Chief Financial Officer Carl J. Chaney and Chief Operations Officer John M. Hairston as chief executive officers of the company.

With this transition, George A. Schloegel will become chairman of the Hancock Holding Company board, and board chair Joseph F. Boardman, Jr., will remain a company director.  Leo W. Seal, Jr., retains his position as president of Hancock Holding Company.

Hancock Holding says the Chaney-Hairston leadership model mirrors the 50-year management relationship between Seal and Schloegel.

"Carl Chaney and John Hairston have guided Hancock toward extraordinary successes and have consistently proven their exceptional leadership through some of the greatest challenges in the company's history. As Hancock looks toward the future, we believe 'passing the baton' now to these two highly regarded business and community leaders sustains the core values set forth by Hancock's founders in 1899 - in short, doing the right thing the right way at the right time for shareholders, customers, and associates," said Seal.

Seal joined Hancock in 1947 when the bank's assets were $12 million.  He advanced to bank president in 1963.  Schloegel, who recently celebrated his 50th year with the company, began his Hancock career as a mailroom runner while in high school and rose to become the bank's sixth president in 1990. Boardman, elected to the board of directors in 1972, became board chairman in 1987.

"The joint leadership structure streamlines executive management by empowering Chaney and Hairston to exercise independent decision-making consistent with a clearly defined long-range growth plan and a core ideology comprising honor and integrity, strength and stability, commitment to service, teamwork, and personal responsibility," said George A. Schloegel.

From 1986 to 1998, Vicksburg native Chaney represented more than 100 financial institutions and served as Hancock's outside mergers and acquisitions and SEC counsel.  He joined Hancock Bank with extensive experience in banking, with an emphasis in bank regulation, securities, SEC compliance, and mergers and acquisitions.  Chaney is a former partner and director of the financial institutions group at Watkins, Ludlam, Winter, & Stennis, P.A.

"Assuming responsibilities as CEO of Hancock Holding Company - one of the country's strongest, top-performing financial institutions - is, indeed, a great honor.  John and I look forward to working with the board of directors, our fellow management committee members, and Hancock's nearly 2,000 associates to further strengthen the company as a leader in financial services across the Gulf South," said Chaney, who was instrumental in forming Hancock Holding Company as Hancock's legal consultant and who subsequently joined the company as CFO in 1998.

As financial consulting manager for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Hairston was the project manager who implemented operating and technology practices across the Hancock franchise in 1992.  He became Hancock's COO in 1994.

"Carl Chaney and I have served side by side with the Hancock organization for many years and are privileged to continue that partnership as our corporate team facilitates commerce and opportunity throughout the region.  Our leadership styles are complementary and reflect the fundamental values of Hancock's founders.  It's very humbling to follow the six chief executives before us who envisioned and carefully molded a company anchored in unwavering traditions of excellence," said Hairston.

A University of Mississippi honors graduate with a banking and finance degree and a juris doctor, Chaney recently received the Graduate School of Banking at Louisianan State University President's Award as the outstanding faculty member.  He also earned the Mississippi School of Banking's Distinguished Faculty Award and has been a longtime instructor at the Alabama School of Banking.

Chaney is a member of the Mississippi State Bar and American Bankers Association and has chaired numerous committees for the Mississippi and Louisiana Bankers Associations.  He also serves on the Ole Miss banking and finance advisory board.  Chaney recently began a second-term appointment to the Mississippi Bankers Association board of directors.

Named one of South Mississippi's Outstanding Community Leaders, the Biloxi resident is a past chairman of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce and a graduate of Leadership Gulf Coast.

Hairston was the Hancock senior executive who spearheaded the company's operational recovery immediately after Hurricane Katrina and the restoration of the company's downtown Gulfport headquarters.

A Gulfport native, he graduated magna cum laude from Mississippi State University with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering. As an Andersen consultant, he specialized in operations, technology, earnings performance, and strategic planning for regional and national U.S. based financial institutions.

Governor Haley Barbour appointed Hairston to the Mississippi Information Technology Services Board in 2004 and to the Mississippi Gaming Commission in 2005.

Additionally, Hairston has been an active board member for Westminster Academy, the Salvation Army, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Historical Society.  He was chosen one of South Mississippi's Top 10 Business Leaders under 40 in 2003 and is an alumnus of both the Graduate School of Banking at LSU and Leadership Gulf Coast.

Hairston is board president for Operation Thank You, a foundation that facilitates visits for World War II veterans to the WWII memorial in Washington D.C.