Great Western taps insider as its next president

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Great Western Bancorp in Sioux Falls, S.D., has promoted a regional executive to serve as its new president.

The $12 billion-asset said in a press release Thursday that Doug Bass would also become chief operating officer.

The move comes six months after Great Western announced plans to split the chief executive and president roles because of its growth. Ken Karels, who had been president since November 2010, will remain chairman and CEO. The announcement ends what the company had called an “extensive, nationwide search.”

Promoting Bass, who previously served as a regional president for five states, will allow Karels to focus on long-term strategy, mergers and acquisitions, board governance and regulatory issues. Bass’ remit will include technology, balance sheet growth, de novo expansion and operating efficiency.

“I’m excited to accept this challenge and lead a team of dedicated employees,” Bass said in the release. “With the support of an outstanding leadership team and a trusted brand, we are well-positioned for continued growth and investment in our customers and communities.”

In addition to overseeing Great Western's operations in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, Bass had managed the company's wealth management and mortgage banking business.

This will be Bass’ second stint as president of a bank holding company. He was president of Great American Bank in Elk Grove Village, Ill., for 11 years before joining Great Western in 2009.

“This is the right time for Doug Bass to become Great Western Bank’s new president and chief operating officer," Karels said in a statement to American Banker. "He’s a strong leader at a time when we are in a very strong position in the industry. Doug has the ability to translate our mission, vision and values into execution and unite our teams to drive superior results. This move is exactly what Great Western Bank needs as we plan for our next chapter.”

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