As the chairman and chief executive officer of KeyCorp, the nation's 10th largest bank, gets ready to retire in late 1995, the company already has a five-year plan in place to carry it through the year 2000.
The plan is known as "First Choice 2000," and the goal is to make KeyCorp and its many subsidiaries the first choice for financial products in the United States, according to Victor J. Riley Jr., chairman and CEO, and Robert W. Gillespie, president and chief operating officer.As a symbol of KeyCorp's motto, all employees are required to wear the familiar metal key on their lapel or dress to let customers know that is a link between customers and the bank.
Riley, Gillespie and members of KeyCorp's board of directors were in Salt Lake City for Thursday's annual shareholder's meeting in Abravanel Hall, the first time the meeting has been held in Salt Lake City. Ross E. Kendell, chairman and chief executive officer of Key Bank of Utah, was the host.
Part of KeyCorp's plan for the future centers on keeping up with technology, Riley said, because the entire country is going through a "technology revolution." He said that even though the equipment being used today is much better than that used 10 years ago, technology is changing so rapidly that today's technology is being outdated quickly.
Riley said Gillespie spent last summer developing the five-year plan after KeyCorp, which was headquartered in New York, merged with Security Corp., based in Cleveland, in March 1994.
That resulted in KeyCorp having $66.8 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 1994, 30,000 employees, 1,300 branches and affiliate offices in 25 states from Maine to Alaska and equity capital of $4.7 billion.
In coming up with the First Choice 2000 plan, Gillespie said, "We had to determine what we wanted to be. We decided we wanted to be a national financial service company, and to compete at that level we had to have power and money."
Riley said the merger has gone extremely well, mainly because it was between two fairly equal companies and because of work by employees. The agreement called for the company to have its new headquarters in Cleveland: The name would be KeyCorp, and Riley would be chairman and chief executive officer until his retirement.
In spite of the 20 percent increase in net income for KeyCorp in 1994 to $853.5 million, there was a down side to the company in 1994. Riley said that after the merger, Wall Street had difficulty understanding the company and the result was a poor stock per-for-mance.
"Once we educate the people about the power and the magnificence of our company, I think the disappointment over the stock will disappear," said Riley.
He said the increase in basis points by the Federal Reserve Board in 1994 also had an impact on the stock of KeyCorp and most other financial institutions.
In addition to providing financial services, the two KeyCorp officials said they want to be good corporate citizens and encourage their employees to be leaders in the arts, charitable organizations, hospitals and other community-based activities. They praised Kendell for his efforts in that area.
As for Riley, he is having a house built in Cody, Wyo., on land he purchased several years ago. Why Cody? In his travels for the company, he determined he wanted a totally different lifestyle in retirement. In Cody, he is close to the mountains and Yellowstone National Park.