PHOENIX -- Apart from the high profile changes at the helm of the California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues a year ago involving the retirement of David H. Chatfield, state credit union leagues saw their share of leadership shifts during 2006.
One of the most prominent involved veteran Gary L. Plank's October announcement to retire in 2007 as president/CEO of the Arizona Credit Union System.
Plank, who turned 65, has served the industry 41 years ranking only behind Gary B. Wolter, CEO of the Alabama League, in seniority.
Plank, the chairman of the World Council of Credit Unions, whose term ends next July, said he would be retiring from ACUS next June to spend time with family at his cabin home in the Arizona mountains, but still might do consulting work.
Underscoring his long industry service, Plank was a member of CUNA's Executive Committee and CUNA Board from 1993-1997. He has served as chairman of U.S. Central Credit Union, the Credit Union Legislative Action Committee, and the American Association of Credit Union Leagues.
He joined the Arizona league in January 1997 and previously held the same position at the Minnesota League of Credit Unions, (now Minnesota Credit Union Network).
Another noteworthy management shift occurred midyear between Minnesota and Connecticut leagues when Kevin Chandler, the CEO of the Minnesota CU Network, exited in March "by mutual agreement," landing the same post in June at the Connecticut Credit Union Association.
Last week the Minnesota Network hired Denver CEO Mark Cummins to fill the vacancy left by Chandler who said management differences on league policies triggered his departure.
Officials of the Network praised Chandler's contributions, but for his part, the 46-year-old Chandler contended differences in director tenure and term limits made management difficult. The Network leadership declined to publicly debate those points lauding Chandler for "nine years of great leadership."
The Connecticut association in hiring him officially on Aug. 1 said it overlooked the Minnesota squabble finding his experience and credentials "invaluable and outstanding."
One of the most closely watched state league shifts in 2006 involved the hiring of Anthony Richards, a Pittsburgh CU consultant to become the first president/CEO of the newly formed Mid-America Credit Union League, combining the North and South Dakota Leagues.
Richards took over the job in May moving quickly to arrange a smooth transition to the formal debut of the new trade group Jan. 1 and changing the name to the Mid-America Credit Union Association with headquarters and staff in Bismarck. The South Dakota League headquarters in Sioux Falls is being sold having been on the auction block since 2004.
Richards has been involved with CUs since 1980 and is a former staffer at state leagues in the District of Columbia, Kentucky and Illinois, before starting his Pittsburgh business, Strategic Resources Consulting, in 1999. For weeks, CUNA and state league executives have said they will be watching progress at the MACUA for clues as to how future league "marriages" might go.
With CU numbers rapidly diminishing and CUs themselves experiencing tight margins, state leagues have been under sometimes-severe cost-cutting pressure to consider regional mergers and outsourcing.
However, for the most part league boards have in the final analysis resisted the idea citing the need for a lobbying presence in state capitals. --firstname.lastname@example.org