The $4.8 billion San Diego County Credit Union announced the sudden retirement of President/CEO Irene Oberbauer, effective Feb. 4. SDCCU's board appointed Chief Operating Officer Tum Vongsawad as interim president/CEO. He joined SDCCU's senior management team in 2000 and has 23 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Oberbauer cited a recent breast cancer diagnosis as her reason for retiring. According to an official release, "Her prognosis is strong." In addition to her leadership roles in the credit union industry, Oberbauer was a high-profile executive in San Diego. She was featured in the January 2010 issue of San Diego Metropolitan magazine as a "Metro Mover to Watch" and received awards in 2009 from the San Diego Business Journal and San Diego's Daily Transcript. She was also recently featured in a local billboard campaign as a satisfied business customer of Cox Communications.
Under Oberbauer's leadership, SDCCU gained national ESPN television exposure, and criticism from bankers, when it signed on as the title sponsor of college football's Poinsettia Bowl in 2005.
SDCCU Board Chair Allan Shaw hailed Oberbauer's work as CEO, saying, "Her dedication and commitment through these extraordinary times have helped SDCCU rank among the top performing credit unions nationwide."
Shaw also expressed his confidence in remaining senior management team members.
"Tum is an outstanding leader and has the full confidence of the board of directors and supervisory committee," he said.
Vongsawad will have to compete for the permanent position, however, as the credit union announced in the release it will conduct a nationwide search for Oberbauer's replacement.
SDCCU CFO Bob Marchand also retired from his position earlier this month. Vice President of Marketing Chrislyn Brandt said Marchand had been planning his retirement for more than a year and met "his goal of leaving SDCCU in an excellent financial position." He served 37 years in the financial services industry, including 17 years with SDCCU.
The community charter credit union hasn't been totally immune to California's loan losses, reporting 2.39% delinquencies and 1.09% charge-offs as of Dec. 31. However, SDCCU's income statement is well in the black, earning a $68.6 million net profit in 2009, according to NCUA reports.