Washington Mutual Inc. has hired a recently retired Bancorp Hawaii executive as chief financial officer, a post in which he will have significant influence now that the nation's fifth-largest thrift is striving to become more bank-like.

The 51-year-old banker, Thomas J. Kappock, had taken advantage of an early retirement program to step down as vice chairman of Bancorp Hawaii's lead bank on June 30. In that post, he had responsibility for acquisitions and retail banking activities.

The native of Hawaii had worked for the state's biggest banking company for 23 years, including a four-year stint as chief financial officer, and three years as treasurer. He is scheduled to begin working on Aug. 21 for Seattle-based Washington Mutual.

Kerry Killinger, the thrift's 46-year-old chairman and chief executive, said that Mr. Kappock's diverse banking experience is one of the principal reasons he was hired.

Mr. Kappock will be one of five executive vice presidents on Washington Mutual's executive committee, a group that has input on all important management decisions. It is in this group that Mr. Kappock's retail and commercial banking experience is expected to be most valuable.

Washington Mutual is emphasizing growth in these areas as a key part of its strategy to more closely resemble a bank.

"He's a very good team player, which works well with our management approach here," Mr. Killinger said.

Speaking from his home in Honolulu, Mr. Kappock said he was first contacted about the job by a Los Angeles-based recruiter for the executive search firm Korn Ferry International. The firm had launched a nationwide search for a replacement after Washington Mutual's former chief financial officer, William A. Longbrake, resigned to become chief financial officer for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Mr. Kappock said he had other job opportunities after retiring from Bancorp Hawaii. But, after racking up 46,000 miles of air travel flying between Hawaii and the West Coast for interviews with various banks, he decided that he could fit in well at Washington Mutual.

"The kinds of people you work for is the number one issue for me," Mr. Kappock said. "I was impressed with them."

Mr. Kappock said he plans to have his wife, two dogs, and two parrots join him in the Seattle area in early September.

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