HONOLULU — First Hawaiian Bank announced Jan. 20 that former U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has been elected to its board of directors.
He previously served on the bank’s board from 2006 to 2008.
“We are proud to welcome Gen. Shinseki back to our ohana (family). He is a man of great integrity and character who has dedicated his entire career to serving our nation,” said Bob Harrison, First Hawaiian Bank chairman, president and CEO.
Born on the island of Kauai, Shinseki is the first person of Asian ancestry to lead one of the American military service branches. He retired from the U.S. Army in August 2003 after a distinguished 38-year military career capped by four years (1999-2003) as chief of staff, the top uniformed position in the Army.
In 2008, President Obama nominated him to be the seventh secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he served for more than five years. He resigned in May 2014 amid allegations that veterans were forced to wait months for medical appointments and that VA employees falsified records to conceal this fact.
“I want to reiterate, he is a very good man,” Obama said at the time. “I don’t just mean that he’s an accomplished man. I don’t just mean that he’s been an outstanding soldier. He’s a good person who’s done exemplary work on our behalf.”
Shinseki graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a master’s degree in English literature from Duke University. He has received numerous honors and decorations for his leadership and courage, including the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He lost part of his right foot to a landmine while serving in Vietnam.
First Hawaiian Bank, with $18.1 billion in assets, was founded in 1858 and is Hawaii’s