League CEO Also CUNA Chair? No Violation of Renewal, Says Ensweiler
When Dick Ensweiler ascended to the chairmanship of the CUNA board, there wasn't much hubbub, despite the fact that he would become the first league president at CUNA's helm since the days before the Renewal Project, which was designed to wrest control away from league presidents.
"As I was progressing through the chairs, there were a few people who questioned whether that was a good idea, and there was a brief moment of discussion about it by the board," Ensweiler told The Credit Union Journal. "But it was a very brief discussion, because you can't separate out one fourth of your board. You can't discriminate among your directors. In fact, there's a Wisconsin law that does not allow for that kind of discrimination. You can't say league presidents on the board don't have the same standing as everyone else, just as you can't say that the CEO of a small credit union shouldn't have the same standing as everyone else on the board."
"On occasion, someone has asked [about a league president taking over as chairman], but I think the reason there wasn't more talk about it is that the credit unions who care the most about the future success of CUNA were the same ones who wanted Renewal and were instrumental in bringing that about," he continued. "And they're the ones who set up a system that everyone was comfortable with. My moving up through the chairs to become CUNA chairman was all done within the confines of that structure, and I think the feeling was that if he's proven himself to the board, then who are we to say no?"