Successor: Tapped in early November to replace Lawrence M. Johnson, who announced in August that he would step down as soon as Pacific Century's board of directors found a successor, O'Neill takes over the $13.9 billion-asset bank at a critical juncture.The company, the holding company for Bank of Hawaii, returned just 8.85% on average equity in the first nine months of 2000, down from an already low 10.99% in the same period in 1999.

Globetrotter: He left the bank in 1984, and spent five years on his own as a London-based consultant to banks around the world. "I learned a lot about how to solve problems," he says.The experience also may help him contend with Pacific Century's operations in Asia and the Pacific islands. Despite political turmoil in Fiji, which contributed to the company's loan problems, its Pacific segment has been profitable. The same can't be said for the Asia business, primarily correspondent banking and trade finance, which lost $1.1 million in the first nine months of 2000.

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