Fifth Third, Discover, BMO Financial: Bankers on the move

Some of the biggest industry moves in May and early June were not executive promotions, but rather departures.

Fifth Third Bancorp Chief Administrative Officer Teresa Tanner, an annual honoree among American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking, departed the bank in June to focus on creating more opportunities for people — particularly women.

Discover Financial Services Chief Financial Officer Mark Graf also announced plans to retire next year, spurring a search for his successor.

Some veterans continued to rise up the ranks in their institutions, meanwhile.

Ernie Johannson was named group head of North American personal banking and U.S. business banking at BMO, the Canadian holding company for the $123 billion-asset BMO Harris Bank in Chicago. She will retain her current responsibilities as group head of U.S. personal and business banking and head of North American retail payments.

MUFG Bank announced June 10 that Deborah Bennett, a near 20-year veteran of Citigroup, was joining as a managing director in its Supply Chain Finance group in the Americas.

And Early Warning, the company that manages the person-to-person payment service Zelle, named Albert Ko its new CEO on May 30. He came from Intuit, where he was general manager of Mint and at another point oversaw QuickBooks.

Scroll down to see this month's featured career moves:

Fifth Third’s Tanner resigns to focus on social causes
Teresa Tanner, Chief Administrative Officer at Fifth Third Bancorp.
For several years now, Fifth Third Bancorp Chief Administrative Officer Teresa Tanner has earned a spot among American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking, in large part because of her work helping other women to succeed in the industry.

But after a weeklong retreat last summer into the mountains of North Carolina to meditate and reflect on her life, Tanner decided it was time to step away and focus on creating more opportunities for people — particularly women — outside of Fifth Third.

Tanner departed the $168 billion-asset Cincinnati company on June 7.

“It’s about taking that leap of faith and knowing time is limited. If there’s something that you’re passionate about, you just have to seize the day and do it,” Tanner told American Banker. “It’s really hard when you’re in the C-suite to plan that next phase.”

Having begun her career at McDonald’s Corp., Tanner joined Fifth Third in 2003 as head of human resources in its operations and technology division. She later became chief human resources officer for the entire company, and in 2015 she was promoted to chief administrative officer.

Fifth Third will not choose a successor for Tanner and instead will divide her responsibilities up among the management team. She will continue to serve on the boards of several Cincinnati-area nonprofits, including the Ronald McDonald House and the Health Collaborative.

Among her accomplishments at the bank, she developed Fifth Third’s Women in Leadership program, an eight-month program designed to help high-performing female bankers carve a path to the C-suite.

She has also overseen the launch of various programs aimed at improving Fifth Third employees’ overall wellness. Its maternity concierge program gives expecting and new parents extra help juggling their day-to-day responsibilities, and its financial wellness program helps employees with budgeting and financial planning.

Shortly after she joined Fifth Third, Tanner partnered with a local hospital to adopt a workforce development program for young adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. Fifth Third then became the first bank to launch a Project SEARCH worksite and, more than a decade later, continues to hire graduates of the program.
Discover finance chief to retire
Discover Chief Financial Officer Mark Graf.
Discover Financial Services said on June 6 that Chief Financial Officer Mark Graf plans to retire next year and that a search has begun for his successor.

Graf, a onetime CFO at Fifth Third Bank, joined Discover in 2011. He said in a press release that he has been speaking for years about wanting a second phase in his career. “As I turn 55, it is time to put that plan in motion,’ he said.

Graf will remain a Discover employee until early 2020, according to the Riverwoods, Ill.-based credit card issuer. He will participate in the search process and will remain in his current role until his successor is appointed, the firm added.
Early Warning taps ex-Intuit exec as new CEO
Albert Ko
Early Warning, the company that manages the person-to-person payment service Zelle, named Albert Ko its new CEO on May 30.

Ko succeeds Paul W. Finch Jr., who retired in March. Ko comes to Early Warning from Intuit, where he was the chief transformation officer. During his tenure there, he was general manager of Mint and at another point oversaw QuickBooks.

Ko says he will spend his first month on the new job listening and learning about how Zelle — which is owned by seven banks — operates. In the first quarter of 2019, $39 billion was sent through the Zelle network in 147 million transactions.

Part of Ko’s mandate will be to help manage the next phase of Early Warning’s evolution from a business-to-business company to a business-to-consumer company.

One thing he’ll be working on is Zelle’s user interface. He will also work to address bankers' worries about the potential for fraud with Zelle.
An expanded role for BMO Financial's Ernie Johannson
Erminia (Ernie) Johannson and she’s with BMO Harris Bank
One of the high-ranking women executives at BMO Financial Group is getting an expanded role.

Erminia (Ernie) Johannson on June 4 was named group head of North American personal banking and U.S. business banking at BMO, the Canadian holding company for the $123 billion-asset BMO Harris Bank in Chicago.

Johannson, No. 2 on American Banker's Women to Watch list in 2018, will retain her current responsibilities as group head of U.S. personal and business banking and head of North American retail payments.

Johannson joined Toronto-based BMO Financial in 2012 and has been its chief risk officer and head of North American retail credit. Last year, when she moved into her role as group head of U.S. personal and business banking last year, her marching orders were to keep the business line in expansion mode, improve profitability, and speed up its digital transformation.

Johannson will continue to report to Cameron Fowler, president of North American personal and business banking.
Utah bank names new CEO
Michael Ward
Prime Alliance Bank in Woods Cross, Utah, selected one of its directors as its next CEO on June 4.

Michael Ward was also named president of the $433 million-asset bank. He succeeded Gary Harding, who left to pursue other opportunities, the bank said in a press release.

Ward, a 14-year member of Prime Alliance's board, recently served as chief operations officer and general counsel at The Color Run. He also spent 25 years at Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, where he once was CEO.
New Synovus CFO joins from Regions
Jamie Gregory, CFO of Synovus Financial
Synovus Financial in Columbus, Ga., mixed its latest C-suite hire with some bank rivalry.

Synovus announced June 3 that Jamie Gregory will become executive vice president and chief financial officer of the $47 billion-asset bank on June 24.

Gregory comes from $129 billion-asset Regions Financial Corp. in Birmingham, Ala., where he most recently was executive vice president and head of corporate financial strategy.

Gregory will succeed Kevin Blair, who joined Synovus as executive vice president and CFO in August of 2016 and was named chief operating officer in December 2018. He held the dual roles of COO and CFO while the company looked for his successor.

Gregory joined Regions in 2009 and has worked as assistant treasurer, chief investment officer, head of corporate development and profitability, and head of finance and corporate development. He was named head of corporate financial strategy early this year.

Before he joined Regions, Gregory worked for Wachovia for 10 years in a number of corporate investment and portfolio management positions.
MUFG supply chain finance group adds banking veteran
Deborah Bennett, managing director of MUFG's Supply Chain Finance group in the Americas.
MUFG Bank announced June 10 that Deborah Bennett was joining as a managing director in its Supply Chain Finance group in the Americas.

Bennett will assume responsibility for engaging suppliers of MUFG's clients and enrolling them in the bank's supply chain finance program, the company said in a press release.

Before joining MUFG, Bennett spent nearly 20 years in various roles at Citigroup, most recently overseeing supplier marketing and onboarding as the head of working capital finance.

Bennett will report to Maureen Sullivan, head of MUFG's supply chain finance business for the Americas.
New general counsel for Bank Policy Institute
John Court
John Court, who has been deputy general counsel at the Bank Policy Institute since its inception last year, was promoted June 4 to general counsel.

Court will succeed Jeremy Newell in July. Newell is departing for the law firm Covington & Burling.

Court previously served as the deputy general counsel to BPI’s predecessor organization, The Clearing House, beginning in 2012. Before that he worked in private practice for 10 years.

Newell is the chief operating officer in addition to general counsel. BPI will look to hire a new COO after he leaves.

Newell will join Covington in July as a partner in the financial services group, where he will focus on topics including bank regulatory issues, bank M&A and compliance.
CapStar Financial goes outside for new leadership
AB-051419-CAPSTAR.jpeg
CapStar Financial Holding in Nashville, Tenn., has hired an outsider as its next leader.

The $2 billion-asset company said in a press release that Claire Tucker, 66, had retired as its president, effective May 13. Tim Schools was hired to succeed Tucker as its president and as president and CEO of CapStar Bank.

Schools will succeed Tucker as the company's CEO on July 31.

Tucker, who has been CEO since the company's formation in 2008, will serve as CEO emeritus through May 31, 2021.

Schools recently served as president and CEO of Highlands Bancshares in Abingdon, Va.
Virginia bank embraces two-step CEO succession
AB-052919-BH (1).jpeg
Burke & Herbert Bank in Alexandria, Va., announced that W. Scott McSween, its president and chief operating officer, will succeed E. Hunt Burke as CEO on June 3. Burke, who is retiring, will remain chairman.

The $3 billion-asset bank said in a press release that McSween plans to retire at the end of this year. He will then be succeeded by David Boyle, who was recently named the bank's president and chief operating officer.

Boyle previously served as chief financial officer at the $2 billion-asset Orrstown Financial in Shippensburg, Pa. Before that, he was the chief performance officer at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh.