HONOLULU — Retired U. S. Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki was elected to the board of directors of First Hawaiian Bank, according to a press release on Tuesday.
Shinseki previously served on the bank’s board from 2006 to 2008. He steps back in after returning from Washington, where he served as U.S. Secretary of The Department of Veterans Affairs until 2014.
“We are proud to welcome General Shinseki back to our ohana. 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 and raised in Lihue, Shinseki graduated from Kauai High School in 1960 before going on to attend the U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point. He went on to serve two tours in the war in Southeast Asia, where he was wounded and returned to duty to serve in several armored divisions. He retired from the U.S. Army in August 2003 after a 38-year military career.
Shinseki was the top uniformed position in the Army as Chief of Staff from 1999 to 2003. He was the first person of Asian ancestry to lead one of the American military service branches.
Shinseki resigned as secretary of the country’s Department of Veterans Affairs in June, nearly two months after a whistleblower revealed that dozens of veterans could have died while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system.
The revelation prompted an audit into VA medical facilities nationwide, which found that long wait times — some of which were months — were a systemic problem.
Shinseki 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.
First Hawaiian Bank, with $18.1 billion in assets, was founded in 1858 and is Hawaii’s oldest and largest bank. It has 57 branches in Hawaii, three on Guam and two on Saipan.