Outgoing BECU President/CEO Gary Oakland said he might be interested in a spot on the NCUA Board.
“I would be flattered to be considered for a position with NCUA,” said the veteran head of the $10 billion Seattle CU, the nation’s fourth-largest, adding he is unsure that his management strengths would align with the agency’s needs.
“Especially, there are many other qualified candidates who would probably be a better fit,” Oakland told Credit Union Times in an interview on Tuesday.
Washington, D.C., credit union CEO Carla Decker’s nomination to replace Gigi Hyland was withdrawn this week.
And asked why he personally might not be qualified for the NCUA spot, Oakland said he “might be the one to kick butt” within the agency staff in an apparent reference to the corporate collapse.
Oakland is retiring in May and NCUA watchers say he has been on the “A list” of those who could win White House support and Congressional confirmation.
His cohorts at BECU, the Northwest Credit Union Association, CUNA and other trade groups widely laud Oakland for his 26 years as CEO at BECU and his impact industry wide, citing what they call his special leadership skills.
“You might call Gary an industry treasure,” said Bucky Sebastian, executive director of the National Credit Union Foundation and the former president/CEO of GTE FCU in Florida.
“Gary has played an important role in every major event or issue impacting credit unions dating back to the formation of Filene (Research Institute),” Sebastian said.
Oakland is the current chairman of the NCUF and is all but certain to be replaced in an election of new officers in August.
At BECU Oakland is being succeeded by Benson Porter, the president/CEO of the $5 billion First Tech FCU of Palo Alto, Calif. Porter was picked to replace Oakland after a nationwide search which lasted nearly a year.
Porter’s first day on the job is April 9 with Oakland gradually giving up the CEO reins prior to the May date.
Oakland, 59, said his immediate plans include a Galapagos Island cruise with his family. Later options might include a six-month stint with the World Council of Credit Unions, he said.
Another big event on the Oakland calendar will be a June 15 soiree in a Seattle hotel convention site with CEOs and industry dignitaries from across the country gathering to recognize his achievements.
Though that event is weeks away, “I actually got called in today to go over there to do taste testing for the food,” Oakland said with a laugh.