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Published: Tuesday, 6/22/2010

Fifth Third revises ruleon board meetings

CINCINNATI — Fifth Third Bancorp, one of Ohio's largest banks, has revised bylaws to put its independent lead director in charge of board meetings when the chairman is absent. The lender's president previously filled the role.

The change comes after Fifth Third on May 28 named William Isaac, a former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as chairman, stripping the title from Kevin T. Kabat, 53, who remains president and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati-based bank.

“More companies are separating the chairman and CEOs or appointing a lead director, which allows the board to be governed as a more independent entity,” said Patricia Lenkov, founder of Agility Executive Search LLC, a New York firm that recruits senior executives and directors.

Fifth Third's decision to split the chairman and CEO jobs was “not about performance,” spokeswoman Debra Decourcy said last month. “It's about corporate governance.”

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