John Komeiji joins Kamehameha Schools, Shin Promoted at Hawaiian Telcom

January 7, 2020, 4:05 PM HST · Updated January 7, 12:37 PM
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John Komeiji (left) and Su Shin (right).

Kamehameha Schools today announced the selection of John Komeiji as its new General Counsel and Vice President.

Komeiji will be joining the CEO’s executive leadership team and will start with KS on Feb. 18, 2020. He succeeds Eric Sonnenberg, who retired in September 2019.

Komeiji most recently served as Hawaiian Telcom President and General Manager, a post he had held since July 2018. Earlier, he was Hawaiian Telcom’s chief administrative officer and general counsel for 10 years. Before that, Komeiji served as senior partner at Watanabe Ing & Komeiji LLP, where his practice focused on the litigation of complex commercial, personal injury and professional liability matters.

Komeiji also is a past president of the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association and is a recipient of the Hawaiʻi Venture Capitalist Association’s Corporate Intrapreneur of the Year Award (2018) and the University of Hawai‘i’s Distinguished Alumni Award (2011). He holds a juris doctorate from Hastings College of Law in San Francisco and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa.

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“I am humbled by the privilege to join Kamehameha Schools and serve Princess Pauahi’s mission and all of our keiki, families and communities throughout Hawai‘i,” said Komeiji. “KS’ mission, work and people have always been inspiring to me, and I’m excited to now be able to contribute to the work at such a pivotal time with all the dedicated staff of Kamehameha Schools.”

Sheryl Nicholson had been serving in an interim role since September 2019. She returns to her role as Associate General Counsel for KS.

With the departure of Komeiji from Hawaiian Telcom, the company announced the promotion of Su Shin to President and General Manager.  Shin is currently Chief of Staff and will move into her new role on Feb. 10, 2020.

“Su has proven herself a results-oriented, high-integrity and humble leader,” said Tom Simpson, Chief Operating Officer at Cincinnati Bell, Hawaiian Telcom’s parent company. “Over the years, she has worked closely with our teams to execute on our strategy. We are confident that her experience at Hawaiian Telcom positions her well to lead the company as we continue our fiber investment. She is deeply committed to Hawai‘i and will provide valuable continuity for our local leadership team. John has been a dynamic and inspirational leader during his 12 years of dedicated service to the employees and customers of Hawaiian Telcom. As I spoke with John, it is not often you have an opportunity to influence the trajectory of people’s lives, as he will get to at Kamehemeha Schools. While we are sad to see him go, we thank him and wish him well.”

Komeiji said, “I could not pass up this opportunity to make a difference in my community at Kamehameha Schools, one of Hawaiʻi’s most vital educational institutions. I believe it has and will continue to play a pivotal role in the wellbeing of Native Hawaiians, our state and our local communities. The decision to leave my Hawaiian Telcom ʻohana was not an easy one, but after all we have accomplished together, I am confident that the company is in very capable hands, heading in the right direction.”

Shin said, “John has been a transformational leader and I am grateful for his mentorship and friendship. I am humbled and honored to be able to continue to serve Hawaiian Telcom’s employees and customers. I look forward to working with our talented and dedicated team as we continue our transformation from the telephone company to Hawaiʻi’s technology leader. From our ongoing investment in our next generation fiber optic network to our commitment to our local communities, I am excited about what the future holds for Hawaiian Telcom.”

Shin joined the company in 2013 and has served as its Chief of Staff for the past year and a half, playing an integral role in day-to-day management of personnel and execution of strategic initiatives. She previously served as Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, managing the company’s internal and external communications, advertising & marketing, website, digital and social media functions.

Prior to joining Hawaiian Telcom as Executive Director of Corporate Communications, she served as Senior Vice President at Bennet Group, providing executive leadership at Hawaiʻi’s fourth largest public relations agency. Shin also has extensive utility experience at the Board of Water Supply as well as having served as a broadcast journalist for KHNL-TV.

Shin graduated from McKinley High School before receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of La Verne in California. A committed community volunteer, she currently serves as a trustee for Palama Settlement, a non-profit social service organization dedicated to improving the lives of keiki to kūpuna in the Kalihi-Pālama area. She is also a member of the University of Hawaiʻi Outreach College advisory council.

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