Former CPB President and CEO Joichi Saito passes away at 86
HONOLULU, HI (March 25, 2022) – With sadness and respect, Central Pacific Bank (CPB) today announced the passing of Joichi Saito, former CPB Chairman and CEO. Mr. Saito passed away on March 18, 2022, at the age of 86 after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born in Takao, Taiwan. After graduating from Hitotsubashi University in 1959, he started his banking career at The Sumitomo Bank, Ltd. (Sumitomo) in Japan. His Sumitomo career included multiple assignments at locations in Japan, California and Washington state before being appointed Chairman and CEO of CPB in 1996.
Under Mr. Saito’s leadership, CPB became one of the strongest financial institutions in Hawaii. He retired in 2002 and was named Chairman Emeritus and Senior Advisor. At the time of his retirement CPB was nationally recognized as one of the top performing banks in the country.
Mr. Saito will be remembered for his strong business acumen and his keen focus on the development and well-being of his employees. Everyone appreciated his easy-going manner and warm smile.
His reputation for strong leadership and genuine care for the Hawaii community led to invitations to help lead multiple organizations across the State of Hawaii. He served as director for the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross, Benefit Services Hawaii Inc., the East-West Center Foundation, Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation, Hawaii Employers Council, and the Honolulu Symphony.
Never forgetting his strong Japanese ties, Mr. Saito continued his efforts to support the promotion of Japan and U.S. relations in Hawaii. He served on various boards of prominent Japanese business organizations, including Chairman of the Board of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce during its 100th anniversary year, Japan-American Society of Hawaii, the Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, Kuakini Health System, the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, Nippon Club, and the United Japanese Society. He established the Japan Sports Fukiya Association in Hawaii and served as its President. He was also the President of Hawaii Yamagata Kenjinkai from 2013 to 2021.
In 2014, Mr. Saito received the Foreign Minister’s Commendation from the Japanese Government for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding and friendly relations between Japan and other countries through economic and technical cooperation, information, and cultural activities to enhance international relations. In 2016, he received recognition from the Emperor of Japan when he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette Medal.
“Mr. Saito was a man of great stature and vision at CPB and played a key role in the growth of the company,” said CPB Executive Chair Paul Yonamine. “Perhaps his most important quality was the trust he had with employees and community leaders. His commitment to making Hawaii a better place was evident in everything he did. He will be missed.”