William Wagner ’75

  • Bill WagnerChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

    Northwest Bankshares, Inc.


    William J. “Bill” Wagner is chairman, president, and CEO of Northwest Bankshares, Inc., a bank holding company headquartered in Warren, Pennsylvania, which owns Northwest Savings Bank, the 110th-largest of over 6,500 banks in the country. Bill joined Northwest in 1984 as chief financial officer and became president of Northwest Savings Bank in 1998. In 2003, he was named chairman and CEO of both Northwest companies.

    During Bill’s 30-year tenure with Northwest, the company’s assets have grown from $535 million to $8 billion and the number of banking offices have increased from 17 to 165. These significant increases have been accomplished through sustained organic growth combined with a series of strategic acquisitions. Since 1984, Northwest has acquired over 30 banks, or branches of banks, expanding the company’s market from its home base in northwestern Pennsylvania across most of the state and into Maryland, western New York, and eastern Ohio. During that time, Northwest was transformed from a traditional thrift institution, with a focus on providing only personal deposits and mortgages, to a full-service financial conglomerate that offers banking, trust, investment management, insurance, and retirement service products to both individual and business customers.  

    As Northwest’s chief financial officer, Bill directed the process that led to the company’s initial public offering (IPO) in 1994 with the sale of $69 million of common stock. With this offering, only 25 percent of the bank was sold, with 75 percent remaining under mutual ownership. In 2003, a second public offering was completed, with another 15 percent of the company being sold for $115 million. Finally, as CEO in 2009, Bill initiated Northwest’s conversion to full public ownership with the completion of a $658-million common offering. As a result of this offering, Northwest became the 58th-largest bank in the country in terms of market capitalization, with its shares trading at a value in excess of $1.2 billion.  

    In recent years, Northwest has received national recognition for values Bill has championed for inclusion in Northwest’s culture: customer satisfaction, ethical behavior, and employee welfare. For four of the past five years, Northwest received the JD Power Award as the bank in the mid-Atlantic Region with the “highest level of customer satisfaction.” In 2009, 2012, and 2014, Northwest was named by Forbes as “One of America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies” and “One of America’s 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies.” In 2014, Northwest was named to the list of “The Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America.” Finally, from 2010 to 2014, Northwest was included in Keefe, Bruyette, and Wood’s annual “Bank Honor Roll” as one of less than 40 banks in the country to meet the performance requirements designated for this recognition.  

    Prior to joining Northwest, Bill was employed as the chief financial officer at Fidelity Savings Association in Pittsburgh and as an assistant, staff, and senior auditor at the accounting firm of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., now KPMG, in Pittsburgh. He received his undergraduate degree in Management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1975.  

    Bill has remained actively involved in both the banking industry and the Warren community. He has served on the board of directors of both the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, where he most recently served as chairman of PBA’s Member Services Committee. In his home community of Warren, Bill has served as a board member and council president of the Chief Cornplanter Council of the Boy Scouts of America and as a member of the board of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, as well as volunteering his services to numerous other not-for-profit and charitable causes.   

    Inducted Spring 2014.