Meriwest Credit Union has announced that Christopher M. Owen, president/CEO will be initiating a transition plan to retirement late this summer. Owen’s decision to retire will bring to close a career of 22 years of service with Meriwest Credit Union.
During Owen’s tenure, the San Jose, Calif.-based credit union migrated from a single-sponsor credit union serving primarily IBM employees to providing financial services within a multicommunity footprint. Through market and branch expansion, Meriwest assets quadrupled during Owen’s tenure to now exceed $1 billion.
Meriwest Chairman Charles Munch said, “Chris’ leadership of Meriwest over the years has been impressive, reorganizing the company, delivering growth and developing a clear forward strategy with a strong portfolio of new opportunities. I and the board of directors greatly appreciate that Chris successfully navigated the credit union through unprecedented economic challenges and is now leaving Meriwest on solid financial footing”.
With Owen’s endorsement and support, the company’s board of directors has unanimously elected Julie Kirsch as the incoming president/CEO. Kirsch has served as executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“For years, we’ve been working together to ensure that we have a strong and balanced senior management team,” said Owen. “Our succession planning is developed to ensure Meriwest remains a sound, healthy institution with relevant products that meet all the financial needs of our members. I believe this mission will be carried forward under Julie’s direction.”
In 1996, Kirsch was appointed chief operating officer responsible for the management of Meriwest’ s financial services, support services, lending, marketing, business development and e-business divisions. Her further appointment to executive vice president was a critical step in the succession planning process, the credit union said.