Former KeyCorp CEO Henry Meyer dies at 70

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Henry Meyer III, the former chairman and CEO at KeyCorp who guided the Cleveland company through the financial crisis, has died at the age of 70.

Meyer died Feb. 11 in his sleep at his home in Naples, Fla., according to a report Friday in The Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

Henry Meyer III was KeyCorp's chairman and CEO from 2001 to 2011.
Henry Meyer III was KeyCorp's chairman and CEO from 2001 to 2011.

Meyer began his four-decade career in banking when he joined Society National Bank in Cleveland in 1972. He worked his way through the management ranks and became president and chief operating officer in 1990 and was elevated to CEO in 1993. He joined the board in 1994, the same year Society merged with KeyCorp, which at the time was based in Albany, N.Y., in a deal that created a regional bank with nearly $70 billion of assets.

In 1995, Meyer was appointed chief operating officer of the combined institution. Two years later, he was named president and in 2001 he became chairman and CEO.

Current KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney, who succeeded Meyer in 2011, said she “cannot understate the impact Henry had” on the bank.

“KeyBank’s longstanding culture of helping clients and communities thrive has its roots in Henry’s leadership,” Mooney said in a statement. “He helped build a strong focus on ensuring that Key is a diverse and inclusive company, understanding that not only was it the right thing to do, but that it was also good business.”

Mooney, who will step down as CEO of the now $146 billion-asset company in May, credited Meyer with providing “a steady hand” during the financial crisis. The company lost about $2.3 billion in 2008 and 2009, but reduced its risk profile and returned to profitability by 2010.

Meyer was a 1972 graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1978. In addition to his professional life, he was active in the community, serving as chairman of the boards at University Hospitals Health System, University Hospitals of Cleveland and the United Way of Greater Cleveland. He also served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and was a member of the Federal Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve System.

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Obituaries M&A Commercial banking Consumer banking KeyCorp Beth Mooney