Wells Fargo, Comerica, Home BancShares: Bankers on the move

Wells Fargo's continued leadership makeover under new CEO Charlie Scharf led to more executive shuffling in the final two months of 2019.

The troubled bank named Muneera Carr, the former chief financial officer at Comerica, as controller and Santander CEO Scott Powell as its new chief operating officer. Allen Parker, who led Wells during its six-month search for a new chief executive, meanwhile, announced he would leave the bank in 2020.

It was the latest shake-up from a bank that has seen significant executive change since its phony-accounts scandal came to light several years ago.

Following is a look at those and other hires, promotions and departures at year-end.

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Executive shake-up continues at Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf is wasting little time in making major changes to the scandal-plagued bank.

The San Francisco bank announced on Dec. 13 the former chief financial officer at Comerica, Muneera Carr, will join on Jan. 6 as controller.

Carr will report to Richard Levy, Wells Fargo’s chief accounting officer, who previously held the controller title. Her responsibilities will include management of corporate tax, accounting and reporting, as well as financial controls. Carr left Comerica in the fall following a nine-year tenure that included stints as chief accounting officer and CFO.

Carr's move follows that of Scott Powell, the CEO of Santander Holdings USA, who was named Dec. 2 as Wells' new chief operating officer. Earlier in their careers, Powell had worked with Scharf in the consumer unit at JPMorgan Chase. Powell will oversee regulatory relations and regulatory execution, as well as a range of operational functions across the company.

Powell was named CEO of Santander Holdings USA in March 2015 and became CEO of Santander Consumer in August 2017. One of his major priorities was resolving the company’s many regulatory matters.

Finally, Allen Parker, the interim Wells CEO who led the bank during its search for a new leader, said he will leave the bank in March. Parker would be leaving "to pursue other business opportunities," Wells Fargo said in a statement on Nov. 14. It added it was looking for a new general counsel to replace him.

Parker stepped into the interim role when Tim Sloan stepped down amid a series of scandals at the bank. The attorney joined Wells Fargo in 2017 after spending decades at the New York law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore.
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Johnny Allison returns to familiar role as Home BancShares' CEO
Home BancShares in Conway, Ark., chose a familiar face for its next president and CEO.

The $14.9 billion-asset company said in a press release on Nov. 7 that Randy Sims, 65, had retired. He was succeeded by Johnny Allison, who was Home’s CEO from 1989 to 2009 and is still its chairman.

Allison, who was 72 when Home filed its proxy statement in April, was one of American Banker's Community Bankers of the Year in 2013.

Sims also retired as Home’s vice chairman and as chairman of Centennial Bank. Jack Engelkes, a Home director, succeeded Sims as vice chairman, while Tracy French, Centennial’s president and CEO, is now the bank’s chairman.
Curt Farmer (left) and Ralph Babb of Comerica.
Comerica Chairman Babb to retire at yearend
Ralph Babb, executive chairman of Comerica Bank in Dallas, announced on Nov. 5 he would retire at the end of 2019, to be succeeded by CEO Curtis Farmer.

Babb stepped down from the chief executive position earlier this year after more than 17 years in the seat. He had been one of the longest-tenured CEOs of a major bank.

Babb had mentored Farmer, who joined Comerica in 2008 to lead its wealth management team after a long stint at Wachovia Bank.

Babb guided the now $73 billion-asset bank through its move from Detroit to Dallas in 2007 and helped steer the company through the 2014 collapse in oil prices that put stress on its energy portfolio.

His retirement rules out the potential for a $58 million payout from his previous change-of-control agreement if the bank had been sold while he was in service there, according to the bank’s proxy statement.

"Ralph leaves a remarkable legacy,” Farmer said in a press release. “He navigated Comerica through times of great prosperity and during challenging economic cycles with transparency, stewardship and integrity.”
Susana Valencia, Texas Border and Gulf Coast CEO at BBVA
BBVA names new CEO of Texas border, Gulf Coast markets
BBVA on Dec. 23 promoted a longtime Texas-based employee to lead its commercial banking operations in the Texas border and Gulf Coast markets.

Susana Valencia will oversee markets including the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi and Beaumont. City presidents in those markets will also report directly to her. Valencia is currently the bank’s Laredo City president and will retain that title in addition to her new responsibilities, the bank said.

Valencia had been with the bank and its predecessors for 20 years, beginning at Laredo National Bank. BBVA's predecessor, Compass Bank, acquired Laredo National Bank in 2008 and Valencia became city president in 2012. She has also held titles including vice president of international private banking and lending and senior vice president of international corporate banking.

The bank’s previous Texas border and Gulf Coast CEO, Jon Rebello, was named its Austin CEO, where he will lead commercial banking operations and global wealth operations in that market. His predecessor, Dillon Knudson, was named CEO of the bank’s Houston market, which is also BBVA’s largest U.S. market.
Steve Streit
Green Dot's Steve Streit to retire
Green Dot CEO Steve Streit will be stepping down from the company he founded two decades ago.

Streit announced his plans to retire from the prepaid card pioneer on Dec. 31.

He will be succeeded on an interim basis by William Jacobs, who chairs Green Dot’s board, while the firm looks for its next CEO. Also departing is Mark Shifke, Green Dot’s chief financial officer since 2015.

Streit said in a press release that he had promised himself and his family that he would retire as CEO at the 20th anniversary of Green Dot’s founding, a milestone that was reached in October.

Earlier this year, Green Dot’s board established a search committee and hired a recruiter as part of its routine succession planning process, Streit said.
Kevin Blair, COO and CFO of Synovus Financial in Columbus, Ga.
Synovus COO adds president title
Synovus Financial in Columbus, Ga., gave Kevin Blair, its chief operating officer, the additional title of president on Dec. 13.

Blair, 49, had been promoted to chief operating officer in December last year. The title of president was previously held by Kessel Stelling, the chairman and chief executive of the $48 billion-asset company.

Before his appointment as chief operating officer, Blair had been chief financial officer since 2016. Blair has also worked for SunTrust Banks as treasurer.

Blair, who will continue to report to Stelling, will retain oversight of the bank’s lines of business, technology and operations. As part of the promotion, he has been given the additional responsibilities of leading human resources, credit administration and all customer-facing support functions.
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Atlantic Community in Pennsylvania taps next CEO
Atlantic Community Bankers Bank in Camp Hill, Pa., has lined up its next CEO.

The $821 million-asset company said in a press release on Dec. 3rd that Craig Howie will succeed Jon Evans on Jan. 1.

Evans, who is retiring this month, will remain with the bank next year as a consultant. Howie is the bank’s senior executive vice president.

Howie joined the bank last year when it merged with Bankers’ Bank Northeast, where he was CEO.

Evans has been Atlantic Community’s CEO for 18 years and led multiple growth efforts, including expansion into New York and New Jersey and the company’s development of a specialty business serving de novo banks.
Signage is displayed outside a Citizens Financial bank branch in downtown Boston.
Citizens names consumer banking, customer experience chiefs
Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., said Dec. 10 that it will promote one executive to lead its consumer banking unit and another to a newly created role early next year.

Brendan Coughlin, currently head of consumer deposits and lending, will become head of consumer banking on Jan. 27. Coughlin will succeed Brad Conner, who is scheduled to retire from Citizens on March 3.

Citizens also announced that Beth Johnson, currently chief marketing officer and head of virtual channels, will become the bank’s first chief experience officer, also on Jan. 27. Johnson was recently named one of American Banker’s Women to Watch.

Both will report to Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun.
Chris Hemmings to Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer at Summit Bank
Summit Bank in Oregon picks chief admin officer
Summit Bank in Eugene, Ore., promoted an accounting executive to senior vice president and chief administrative officer on Dec. 3rd.

Chris Hemmings had been vice president, controller for the $414 million-asset bank. He is currently entering his third and final year at Pacific Coast Banking School, a national graduate school of banking.

He will oversee strategy and is responsible for internal operations, including loan and deposit operations, compliance, human resources and coordination of treasury management product development and support, according to a press release.

Hemmings will also be a member of the bank’s executive committee.

"Chris is a trusted colleague and leader at Summit,” Craig Wanichek, president and CEO of Summit Bank, said in the release.
Thomas Ramm, Gateway First Bank
Gateway First appoints investment chief
Gateway First Bank in Jenks, Okla., named a new chief investment officer on Dec. 11.

Thomas Ramm will be responsible for all capital markets and investment-related activities, the bank stated in a press release. He will also oversee relationships with broker-dealers and fixed income investors.

A 15-year veteran, Ramm’s experience included roles as executive vice president of capital markets at Stearns Lending, vice president of capital markets at MetLife Bank, and senior vice president of interest rate risk management at Tennessee Bank and First Horizon Home Loans.

“I was attracted to Gateway’s high growth and evolving company environment,” Ramm said in the release. “Gateway’s transition to a bank earlier this year positioned the company as a diversified financial institution.”

The $1.4 billion-asset firm was established this year after the merger of Gateway Mortgage Group with a 100-year-old bank.
Michael Ranttila Middlefield Banking Company
A.J Zanyk Photography 2015
Middlefield selects new chief financial officer
Middlefield Banc Corp. in Middlefied, Ohio, announced a senior vice president and chief financial officer for Middlefield Banking Co. on Nov. 19.

Michael C. Ranttila takes on the new role, having served as senior vice president of finance for the bank since 2017.

Ranttila succeeds Donald L. Stacy, who will continue as executive vice president and treasurer of the bank, as well as senior vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer of Middlefield Banc Corp.

Ranttila first joined the $1.28 billion-asset firm as controller in 2011. A certified public accountant, he previously worked as an auditor of community banks.
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Allegiance in Texas names CEO
In the new year, Allegiance Bancshares in Houston will have a new CEO.

The $4.9 billion-asset company said in a press release on Oct. 28 that Steven Retzloff, 63, will succeed George Martinez, 77, on Jan. 1. Martinez will remain Allegiance’s chairman.

Retzloff, Allegiance’s president, will continue to serve as chairman of Allegiance’s bank. Martinez will become the bank’s vice chairman as part of the succession.

Ramon Vitulli III, president of Allegiance’s bank, will succeed Retzloff as the company’s president. He will also become CEO and chief operating officer of the bank. Okan Akin, Allegiance’s chief risk officer, will become the bank’s president, succeeding Vitulli.

Martinez and Retzloff founded Allegiance in 2007.
James Estep, Regional Executive in Fairfax for John Marshall Bank
John Marshall in Virginia names local executive
John Marshall Bank, a community lender based in Reston, Va., appointed a new regional executive in Fairfax on Nov. 5.

James Estep will provide strategy for the firm’s Tysons location while overseeing its efforts in Reston, the firm said in a press release. Additionally, he will also lead a team providing industry specific banking services to healthcare practices and veterinary clinics.

Estep has been with the $1.1 billion-asset bank since 2018. He began his banking career locally in Virginia in 2004, with a focus on commercial lending.
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Western Alliance president resigns
At the beginning of November, Western Alliance Bancorp's president and chief operating officer resigned.

A regulatory filing from the $26.3 billion-asset company did not say why James Haught vacated the position.

Succeeding Haught was Kenneth Vecchione, Western Alliance’s CEO.

Tim Booth, division president of Bridge Bank, was named chief operating officer, overseeing technology and other banking operations.
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