University Credit Union in Maine names first female chief executive

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Renee Ouellette has been named president and CEO of Orono, Maine-based University Credit Union, the first time in the institution’s history it has named a female chief executive.

Ouellette, who began in that position on Dec. 13, takes the baton from Deb White-Rideout, who served as interim president during the board’s executive search. White-Rideout was preceded by CEO Matthew Walsh, who led the $320 million-asset institution from 2006 until August of this year, when he took a position with Machias Savings Bank.

“I want to thank our Board of directors for placing their confidence in me to lead UCU,” Ouellette said in a statement. “I am fortunate to be surrounded by a highly skilled and dedicated team who provides the very best service to our members.”

Ouellette brings nearly 25 years of experience to the position, including have worked as a certified public accountant and spending the last 10 years at UCU. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an associate degree in business management.

She will oversee UCU’s eight locations, including three campus locations. Beyond the office, Ouellette volunteers on the boards of Special Olympics of Maine as well as the Bangor Chapter of Credit Unions, and serves on the steering committee of the New England Financial Executives Council.

“My fellow board members and I are thrilled to welcome Renee to her new role, having worked alongside her and trusted her expertise for more than 10 years,” Gerald Hayman, Jr., chair of the UCU Board of Directors, said in a press release.

As reported, female executives are the majority at credit unions, with 52% of all institutions home to female CEOs, compared to just 5% for publicly traded banks and 6% for Fortune 500 companies. However, most of the nation’s largest CUs are run by men – with the notable exception of Navy Federal, the world’s largest credit union – with women predominantly running smaller shops, which tend to pay less in comparison with their larger counterparts.

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