Officers & Directors

Senior Management

  • Jack L. Kopnisky
    Jack L. Kopnisky President & Chief Executive Officer
  • Luis Massiani
    Luis Massiani Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
  • Thomas X. Geisel
    Thomas X. Geisel Senior Executive Vice President & Corporate Banking President
  • Rodney C. Whitwell
    Rodney C. Whitwell Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer
  • Michael E. Finn
    Michael E. Finn Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Risk Officer
  • Brian T. Edwards
    Brian T. Edwards Executive Vice President & Consumer Banking President
  • Javier L. Evans
    Javier L. Evans Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer
  • James P. Blose
    James P. Blose Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer

Board of Directors

Mona Aboelnaga Kanaan
Mona Aboelnaga Kanaan serves as a Managing Partner at K6 Investments LLC which was also founded by her. She has been Director at Sterling Bancorp since May 29, 2019. She was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Proctor Investment Managers LLC which she co-founded in 2002. She oversaw the firm’s strategic development, acquisition program, and international distribution strategy. Then she sold the firm to National Bank of Canada in 2006 and continued as Proctor's President and CEO until 2013. Prior to co-founding the Proctor Investment Managers, she was a Founding Partner at Overture Asset Managers, LLC. In her role as a Senior Managing Director and Head of Strategic Development and Acquisitions at Overture, Ms. Kanaan spearheaded acquisitions and partnership agreements with affiliate and partnership firms. Previously, she was a Senior Vice President at Communications Equity Associates where she expanded the firm’s principal investment activities in the US and Middle East. Before this, she was a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Siguler Guff & Company. Ms. Kanaan also held various positions at PaineWebber Investment Banking in the leveraged transactions and financial institutions groups. She began her career as a Financial Analyst at Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management. She also serves on the Board of Directors at the Arab Bankers Association of North America, American Near East Refugee Aid, and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. She is an experienced CEO, serial entrepreneur, investor and corporate director with several years of experience in global finance and Investment. She is a Trustee of The Chapin School, Trustee of International House New York and the former Chairperson of ABANA. She sits on the board of the Chapin School, the Arab Fashion Council and International House of New York. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Association of Corporate Directors. She has a proven track record of building thriving businesses by decisively defining and implementing long-term strategic plans, recruiting and motivating winning teams, establishing focused goals, and sourcing, executing and managing transformative strategic transactions and investments in North America, Europe and the Middle East. A recognized expert in private equity, asset management, entrepreneurship and the Middle East, Mona is a frequent speaker and commentator in forums and publications such as the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Pensions & Investments, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Magazine, HFM, FundFire and The Private Equity Analyst. Ms. Kanaan earned an M.B.A. in Finance and International Business from Columbia Business School and a B.S. in Economics and Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
John P. Cahill
John P. Cahill, J.D., serves as a Partner of Chadbourne & Parke LLC. Mr. Cahill joined Chadbourne & Parke in 2006. He has been Counsel of Chadbourne & Parke LLP since 2007. Mr. Cahill Co-founded the Pataki-Cahill Group in March 2007. He is also a Principal at the Pataki-Cahill Group LLC After a distinguished career in the public sector, Mr. Cahill serves as Counsel to the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke, LLP. He serves as an Attorney with experience in both the private and public sectors. He served in various capacities in the administration of the Governor of New York, George E. Pataki from 1997 to 2006. From 2002 to 2006, he served as Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Governor of the State of New York, which is the highest ranking appointed official in New York State Government. He was a Partner in the New York City law firm of Plunkett & Jaffe, P.C. He left the DEC in 2001 to serve as Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Pataki. Mr. Cahill first joined the Pataki Administration in 1995 as General Counsel to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). He served as Chairman of the Environmental Facilities Corporation. Prior to that, he served as a Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He serves as a Director of Zest Labs, Inc. He has been a Director of Hudson Valley Holding Corp. since March 1, 2011 and serves as its Lead Director. He has been an Independent Director of Ecoark Holdings, Inc. since May 2016. He has been Independent Director of Sterling Bancorp., since 2011. He serves as a Director of Sterling National Bank. He serves as Director of National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation, Inc. He served as Lead Director of Hudson Valley Bank, N.A. and served as its Director since 2011. Mr. Cahill served as a Director of TBS International Plc (alternate name:TBS International Limited) since June 2007. Mr. Cahill holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Fordham University and a Juris Doctor and a Master's degree in Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law.
Navy E. Djonovic
Navy E. Djonovic serves as Director at Sterling Bancorp. She is a Partner at Maier Markey & Justic LLP, a certified public accounting firm, providing accounting, auditing and consulting services since January 2010. She served as a Director of Operations at Mikimoto, America since 1998 until 1999. She served as Senior Accountant at Arthur Anderson since 1996 till 1998. She is a Staff Accountant at Deloitte & Touche LLP since 1994 till 1996. She is a Member of New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. She serves on the Boards of a number of non-profit and civic organizations in Westchester County including the Westchester County Association. She studied B.A. in Accounting from Fordham University.
Fernando Ferrer
Fernando Ferrer serves as Partner and Co-Chairman of Mercury Public Affairs, LLC since October 2006. Mr. Ferrer served as the President of Drum Major Institute for Public Policy from 2002 to 2004. He served as the President of Bronx Borough from 1998 to 2002. He served as the Chairman of the board of Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Inc. since 2017, served as its Vice-Chairman of the board until 2017. He serves as a Co-Chairman of IGR Group. He served as an Acting Chairman of Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Inc. until June 20, 2013. He serves as a Director of the Regional Plan Association. He has been Independent Director of Sterling BanCorp since November 21, 2002. He has been a Director of Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Inc, since June 15, 2011. He serves as Independent Director of Sterling National Bank. Mr. Ferrer served in the New York City Council from 1982 to 1987 before being elected Bronx Borough President from 1987 to 2001. During his 14-year tenure, he created housing for about 66,000 families. In 2005, Mr. Ferrer became the first Latino to the win the Democratic Party nomination for New York City Mayor. He served on the board of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity; and chaired the board of the Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Manhattan, Mercy, Herbert H. Lehman and Metropolitan Colleges, the Eugene J. Keogh Public Service Awards from the Alumni Association of New York University, as well as hundreds of awards from schools, community groups, institutions and faith communities. He earned his BA degree from the University Heights College of Arts and Sciences of New York University and his MPA degree from Baruch College of the City University of New York.
Robert S. Giambrone
Robert S. Giambrone, also known as Bob, serves as Chief Financial Officer of FIG Acquisition Corp. Mr. Giambrone served as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of KBW Inc. (Alternate name KBW LLC) since August 1, 2005 and served as its Principal Accounting Officer and Executive Vice President. Mr. Giambrone has been an Independent Director at Sterling Bancorp. since 2015. Mr. Giambrone served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. since June 2002 until 2013, where Mr. Giambrone managed all of KBW's key strategic initiatives including the initial public offering of its shares. Prior to joining KBW, Mr. Giambrone served as an Executive Director of the Asset Management Division of Morgan Stanley from 1995 to 2002. He served as Vice President of Morgan Stanley Income Securities Inc. and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter High Income Advantage Trust II. He served as an Executive Officer of KPMG LLP. He served as Chief Administrative Officer of Morgan Stanley Investment Management from 1995 to 2002. He served several positions at KPMG from 1976 to 1995, including Partner from 1987 to 1995, where he served as client service partner for major financial institutions in the New York metropolitan area during his nearly 20-year career. He served as Vice President of Invesco funds and Morgan Stanley Government Income Trust. He has been a Director of Astoria Bank and Astoria Financial Corporation since July 22, 2015. He serves as a Director of KBW Asset Management, Inc. He is a Board member of WSP USA Buildings, Inc. (privately held) since March 2015. He is Board member of WSP Holdings, Inc. and WSP Global Inc. since March 2015. He served as an Executive Director of Morgan Stanley Investment Management 1995 to 2002. Mr. Giambrone served as a Director of KBW Inc., since April 2006 until November 2006. He is a Certified Public Accountant in New York State and a Member of the New York State Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. He holds Series 27, 7 and 63 Securities Licenses. Mr. Giambrone graduated with a BBA (Accounting) from Iona College.
Jack L. Kopnisky
President and Chief Executive Officer

Jack L. Kopnisky currently serves as President and CEO of Sterling Bancorp and its principal banking subsidiary Sterling National Bank. Under Mr.Kopnisky's leadership, Sterling has grown from $3.2 billion in assets in 2011 to $32 billion in assets in 2018. Prior to his appointment, Mr.Kopnisky served as Chief Executive Officer of SJB Escrow Corporation, a $1.1 billion investment pool since 2009, and as a partner in Mercatus LLC, a national financial services consulting and investing firm, since 2008. From 2005 until 2008, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of First Marblehead Corporation, a provider of outsourcing services for private education lending. Before joining First Marblehead, Mr.Kopnisky held several top executive positions at KeyCorp. He was President of the Consumer Banking Group and CEO and President of KeyBank USA. Mr.Kopnisky held full P&L responsibilities for a $65 billion business portfolio and helped Key Corp build one of the largest branch networks in the United States.

Mr.Kopnisky serves on the Board of Directors of Sterling Bancorp, the Board of Trustees of St. Thomas Aquinas College, Summer Search of NYC, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and the Westchester County Association. He received his undergraduate degree from Grove City College. He also graduated from the Case Western Reserve Executive Program at the Weatherhead School of Business and the University of Delaware’s Stonier Banking School. He was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 2017.
James J. Landy
James J. Landy, also known as Jim, served as Special Liaison Consultant of Hudson Valley Holding Corp. since December 31st 2014. Mr. Landy served as the Chief Executive Officer of New York National Bank since February 2007. Mr. Landy served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Valley Holding Corp. from January 2001 to May 2012. He served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Valley Bank, National Association (Hudson Bank) until May 2012. He served as an Executive Vice President of Hudson Bank from December 1998 to December 2000 and as Manager of Strategic Relationships and Sales from September 1999 to December 2000. He has been employed by Hudson Bank since 1977. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of St. Josephs Hospital, Yonkers. He has been the Chairman of Hudson Valley Bank, National Association since December 31st 2014. He served as the Executive Chairman of Hudson Valley Holding Corp and Hudson Valley Bank since May 10, 2014. Mr. Landy served as Manager of Special Relationships from 1997 to 1999, as Senior Vice President and Manager of Municipal and Community Relationships from 1996 to 1997 and as Regional Vice President for Southern Westchester from 1988 to 1996. He has been Not Independent Director of Sterling Bancorp Since 2000. He serves as Not Independent Director of Sterling Bank. He has been an Executive Director of Hudson Valley Holding Corp. since 2000. He serves as a Director of Hudson Valley Bank, National Association. Mr. Landy holds a B.A. from Manhattan College, Graduate from Stonier School of Banking and M.B.M. from Banking, Louisiana State University.
Maureen B. Mitchell
Maureen Bridget Mitchell has been Director of Sterling Bancorp and Sterling National Bank since May 22, 2018. Ms. Mitchell is the President of Global Sales and Marketing and Director of GE Asset Management Incorporated. Ms. Mitchell joined GE Asset in 2009. Previously, she was the Managing Director, Global Head of Institutional Sales and Client Service and Consultant Relations at Highland Capital Management. Ms. Mitchell’s experience also includes 10 years at Bear Stearns Asset Management, where she was a Senior Managing Director and led that its global institutional distribution efforts. Prior to this, she was at Deutsche Investment Management Americas Inc. as a Vice President of Consultant Relations. Ms. Mitchell also spent seven years at U.S. Trust Company, where she was a Vice President of Endowments and Foundations. She has a vast investment management and sales industry experience. She has been Independent Trustee at Gateway Trust since July 1, 2017. Ms. Mitchell is a Member of the Board of Directors of GE Investment Distributors, Inc. She is also a Member of the ICI Board of Governors and has served on a number of not-for-profit boards, including current roles as a Board Member of She’s the First, Inc. and the 21st Century Foundation for City College of New York. She was Director of Fieldpoint Private Holdings Inc. and Fieldpoint Private Bank & Trust, Inc. since 2017. Ms. Mitchell has been named to Irish America magazine’s Business 100 list. She holds the FINRA Series 7, 24 and 63 securities licenses at GE Investment Distributors, Inc. Ms. Mitchell holds an undergraduate degree from City College of New York and a graduate degree from Fordham University.
Patricia M. Nazemetz
Patricia M. Nazemetz, also known as Pat, is the Founder and Principal of NAZ DEC LLC since 2011. Ms. Nazemetz served as the Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Ethics Officer of Xerox Corp., since 2007 and also its Corporate Vice President since January 1999. She was responsible for all aspects of human resources including resource planning, sourcing, talent management, leadership development, pay and rewards, diversity, work environment and industrial relations at Xerox Corporation. She served as Vice President of Human Resources at Xerox Corp. from 1999 to 2011. In this role, she advised and counseled the Chief Executive Officer and senior management on matters including: Organizational Dynamics, Compensation & Benefits, Learning and Development, Diversity and Legal & Compliance initiatives. She joined Xerox Corporation in 1979 as a Benefits Operations Manager and held a variety of assignments in Human resources. She served as a Benefits Analyst at W.R. Grace & Company. She has been a Director of YRC Worldwide Inc. (Alternate Name Yellow Corp) since March 23, 2015. She serves as a Director of the National Business Group on Health and Catholic Health Services of Long Island. She has been a Director of Astoria Financial Corporation and Astoria Bank since January 23, 2013. She serves as a Director of TransforMED, Leawood, KS. She served as an Independent Director of WMS Industries Inc. from December 2007 to October 18, 2013. She served as a Director at Iberdrola USA, Inc. from 2007 to September 2008. She served as a Director of Energy East Corp. from 2007 to September 2008. She served as Board Member, Board of Trustees, Fordham University (1997 to 2017). She has also served on the Physician Payment Review Commission by Congressional appointment and was inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers. She is current Director of Sterling Bancorp (bank holding company for Sterling National Bank) and Energy East Corporation (electricity and natural gas distributor) (2007 – 2008). Ms. Nazemetz’s notable career in all areas of human resources management, including succession planning, executive compensation, employee benefits and other areas, bring valuable skills and insight to the Board. Further, Ms. Nazemetz has extensive experience with public company boards as well as serving on numerous non-profit boards throughout her career. She is a Board Member, Muscular Dystrophy Association (2014 to present). Ms. Nazemetz holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics from Fordham in 1971 and a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Fordham in 1980.
Richard L. O’Toole
Chairman of the Board
Richard O'Toole has served as Chairman of the Board of Sterling Bancorp since May of 2017 and has been an independent director since 2012. He served as an Executive Vice President and Consultant at The Related Companies, Investment Arm since 2005. Mr. O'Toole supported the leadership to drive extraordinary growth through development and management of residential and commercial projects across the country. Mr. O’Toole is General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Related, where he is responsible for tax structuring and origination of new business opportunities. He was a Partner in the Tax Department with Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker Europe from 2000 to 2005. He has over 35 years of legal, merger and acquisition, real estate and tax experience. He has been a Director of KSW Inc. since October 11, 2012. He serves as a Director of Equinox Holding Inc. (privately held) (2016 to present); Motivate (privately held) (2015 to present), the operator of Citi Bike; and numerous subsidiaries of Related and serves as an adjunct at Columbia University. Mr. O'Toole holds an LLM from New York University, a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and a B.A. from St. John’s University.
Ralph F. Palleschi
Ralph Francis Palleschi is President and Chief Operating Officer at First Long Island Investors LLC. Mr. Palleschi has been Independent Director at Sterling Bancorp since 1996. He served as Chief Operating Officer of New York Islanders hockey team from 1993 to 1997. Mr. Palleschi founded First Long Island Investors in 1983 and currently serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer and is the Portfolio Manager for FLI Core. As Portfolio Manager, he directs all investment related activities including portfolio management, research, and risk management. Prior to First Long Island Investors, Mr. Palleschi served as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Entenmann’s Inc. from 1977 to 1983. He was an Employee of Peat Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (predecessor of KPMG LLP) from 1968 to 1977. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Variety Child Learning Center. He is Member of the Board of Directors of the Viscardi Center. He began his career with the international accounting firm of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., on their audit staff in 1968. He was President of W. P. Stewart Asset Management (NA), Inc. from 1998 to 2003. He was the non-executive Chairman for Astoria Financial Corporation from 2012 until 2017, when it was acquired by Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL), the parent company of Sterling National Bank. Mr. Palleschi currently serves on the Sterling board of directors. He is Director of The Viscardi Center. Mr. Palleschi graduated from St. John’s University in 1968 and is a Certified Public Accountant. He holds a B.B.A., St. John’s University.
Burt B. Steinberg
Burt B. Steinberg has been an Independent Director at Sterling Bancorp since 2004 and Director at Sterling National Bank since 2000. Mr. Steinberg has been the President and Consultant to BSRC Consulting since 2001. He served as Director Emeritus and Consultant to Ascena Retail Group, Inc., formerly known as Dress Barn, Inc., from 2009 to 2015, Executive Director from 2001 to 2009 and Chief Operating Officer and President from 1982 to 2001. He was Hedge fund consultant to XLCR Capital Partners LP from 2011 to January 2015. He is a Member and Director of a number of business, educational and charitable organizations throughout Rockland and the surrounding regions, including the Rockland Business Association since 2014. Mr. Steinberg holds a B.A. from City University of New York and M.B.A. from Columbia University.
William E. Whiston
William E. Whiston, also known as Bill, serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Archdiocese of New York (“Archdiocese”) since January 2002. Member, Provident Healthcare, the member of Archcare, the healthcare arm of the Archdiocese. Prior to joining Archdiocese, Mr. Whiston served as an Executive Vice President and Member of the United States Management Board at Allied Irish Bank from 1972 to 2002. In his 29 years at Allied Irish Bank, he handled many key functions, including Head of Acquisitions and Brand Development, Head of e-Commerce and Information Technology, Head of church and non-profit financial consulting services and Head of Operations. He serves as Trustee, St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Patrick's Landmark Foundation and St. Joseph's Seminary. Mr. Whiston has been a Director of America Investment Corporation since February 17, 2011. Mr. Whiston served as a Director of Hudson Valley Holding Corp and for its subsidiary, Hudson Valley Bank, N.A., since April 04, 2013. He has been a Director of Mutual of America Investment Corporation since February 2011. He has been Independent Director of Sterling Bancorp., since 2013 and Mutual of America Institutional Funds Inc. He serves as Director of various funds of Mutual of America Investment fund complex. He is a Trustee of St. Joseph's Seminary and the New York Medical College. He is an Adjunct Professor in Finance at the Fordham University Graduate school of Business. He is honored by the Catholic Church by being named a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and a member of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. Mr. Whiston holds a B.A. from Pace University and a Master's in Business Administration fromStern School of Business, New York University.