Business Council of New Orleans & the River Region Announces New Chairman


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New Orleans, LA – Joseph S. Exnicios, president of Hancock Whitney Bank, has been named chairman of the Business Council of New Orleans & the River Region. His two-year term began on Jan. 1.

Mr. Exnicios, a long-time member of the Business Council, replaces David Kerstein, who served as chair for the 2016-2018 term.

Mr. Exnicios has long enjoyed a successful and diverse career in banking. He managed the Commercial Banking business for Whitney from 1999 until 2008, when he became the first chief risk officer for Whitney Holding Corporation, a position he held until 2011. Upon the completion of the merger of Whitney and Hancock, Mr. Exnicios was named president of Whitney Bank, which at the time of merger included all operations in Louisiana and Texas. In 2014, the two banks merged charters and he became the President of Hancock Whitney Bank, a $27 billion bank operation doing business in six states. In addition to the Business Council, Mr. Exnicios currently is serving or has served on the boards of the Urban League of Louisiana, Bureau of Governmental Research, Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana, LSU Health Foundation, Brother Martin Century Foundation, UNO Foundation, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Southeast Louisiana Council Boy Scouts of America, Metropolitan Crime Commission, New Orleans Educational Television Foundation WYES TV12, New Orleans Council of the Navy League of the United States, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans and currently serves as Board Chair of the Advisory Board of St. Michael Special School.

“I am honored and appreciative of the opportunity to serve a highly-engaged group of leaders from across the Greater New Orleans region," said Mr. Exnicios in a press release announcing the new position. "I am committed to continuing the Business Council's important and ambitious efforts to improve the quality of life and economic vitality of all our local communities.  This is a time of great consequence for our region, and I look forward to the vital work ahead."  

According to Coleman D. Ridley, Jr., managing director of the Business Council, “Joe's election as chairman demonstrates the depth of talent, experience, and commitment to communities across the region among the Business Council membership.  An active civic and business leader, Joe is regarded for his ability to develop, foster, and maintain effective and positive relationships among diverse groups.  I fully expect that under his leadership the Business Council will continue to capably and effectively advocate for and influence policies that enhance the quality of life for all citizens of the region.”

Along with Mr. Exnicios, the 2018 Business Council’s Executive Committee includes: Justin T. Augstine lll; Vanessa Brown Claiborne; Henry Coaxum; James (Jim) Cook; David Darragh; Karen DeBlieux; David Gallo; Richard Haase; Lee Jackson; Merritt Lane; Alden J. McDonald, Jr.; Charles L. Rice, Jr.; Lee Anne Sciambra;  Bruce Thompson; and Peter Wilson.