Comerica names new chief credit officer in latest management shake-up

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Comerica in Dallas has announced a slew of personnel moves this month, naming a new chief credit officer, a new chief community officer and expanding the role of its chief marketing officer.

The $73.1 billion-asset bank said Wednesday that Melinda Chausse, its executive vice president and head of commercial underwriting, will become chief credit officer on May 1. Chausse will replace Peter Guilfoile, who is planning to retire later in the year.

Comerica also this month named Irvin Ashford its chief community officer and broadened the role of Chief Marketing Officer Jim Weber, appointing him to the newly created position of chief experience officer.

Chausse is taking over at a time when more of the bank’s loans to oil and gas companies are falling into trouble due to falling crude oil prices. Chausse has been with the bank since the late 1980s as a credit analyst and has since taken positions like chief credit officer of the bank’s important middle-market lending business in Texas then later as executive director of business banking nationally.

Curt Farmer, Comerica’s chairman and CEO, said that Chausse was the natural choice to replace Guilfoile.

"Melinda has a strong command of credit underwriting and a long history of building enduring customer relationships,” said Farmer, who replaced Ralph Babb as CEO in April and added the chairman’s title on Jan. 1. “We are pleased to have someone of her caliber, expertise and integrity assume this important leadership role.”

Ashford has been with the bank for two decades and will head up community reinvestment efforts. He had previously run Comerica’s financial education programs.

In his new role, Weber will gauge customer experiences across several of the bank’s business lines including retail, commercial and wealth management.

“As customer preferences change with the advent of new technologies, it will be critical for us to more closely monitor and understand each and every touchpoint, and then deliver an experience that raises our customers' expectations,” Weber said in a statement when his new position was announced on Jan. 14.

Comerica is still without a permanent chief financial officer since Muneera Carr left the bank in October. Comerica’s former executive vice president and treasurer James Herzog was appointed as interim CFO.

The bank is expected to name a permanent replacement in the first or second quarter of 2020, a spokesperson said Thursday.

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