The Women to Watch: No. 8, Huntington's Sandy Pierce

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Senior EVP, Private Client Group; Regional Banking Director and Chair of Michigan, Huntington Bancshares

Sandy Pierce has been through enough mergers in her 39 years in banking to know that, as companies get larger, department meetings tend to get longer and more unwieldy.

So Pierce, who joined Huntington Bancshares last year when it acquired her former employer, FirstMerit, is intent on reducing the length of meetings across the $100 billion-asset company so that bankers can spend more time with existing or prospective clients. She has directed department heads to reduce meeting times and the number of people required to attend meetings in person by at least 25% and cut the number of pages used in presentations in half.

“As a company grows, so does the paperwork and so do the number and length of meetings,” said Pierce. “We want to be really intentional about giving people back time so we can focus on what we are in the business of doing, which is making people’s lives better.”

The initiative has strong backing from the senior management team, which has responded by cutting its number of weekly meetings from two to one. That’s extra time Pierce can devote to her myriad responsibilities, which include managing Huntington’s 18 regional bank presidents across eight states, overseeing the private bank, directing corporate communications, regional marketing and public affairs, and leading all activities in the state of Michigan.

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It’s a lot to juggle, but Pierce — who also chairs the Henry Ford Health System and is on the board of the Detroit branch of the Chicago Federal Reserve — said she can do it all because she is unafraid to delegate.

“You don’t micromanage, you lead,” she said. “You allow people to make decisions, and if they make a mistake, like we all do, they learn from it and move on.”

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