Leonardson to Leave BECU
Butch Leonardson, a veteran credit union executive credited with helping to bring technology from the backroom to the boardroom, plans to leave his job by the end of the year.
For the past 15 years, Leonardson has been chief information officer at BECU, where he has helped shepherd the Seattle credit union’s growth from $3 billion then to nearly $12 billion and 900,000 members now.
In an email to friends and colleagues, Leonardson said he would be leaving at the end of the year and cited two reasons.
“I passed the 65 mark already and wanted to leave myself ample time for an encore career. And, 2014 is the end of a three-year planning cycle. In 2015, we start a new three-year cycle, so this year is a good time,” he wrote. “Over the next 10 years, I along with others am planning to help develop credit unions’ CIO leadership capabilities and help CU boards and executive teams transform their IT teams into powerful parts of their growth and strategies.”
He told CU Times on Tuesday that he hopes to share his specific plans later this year.
Long active in the CUNA Technology Council and other networking and mentoring circles, Leonardson’s accomplishments include leading a revamp a decade ago of his credit union’s technology infrastructure, tying most of the systems together in a commitment to third-party integration not yet common in the industry.
That included being one of the first big credit unions to commit to the Open Solutions core processing platform.
“I worked with Butch on a variety of projects over the years,” former Open Solutions Chairman/CEO Louis Hernandez told CU Times, “including one of the first large-scale enterprise installations of DNA core processing in the credit union space. At the time, it was the largest of its kind. Butch was the first to understand the power of collaborative technologies that allow people to connect in more powerful ways while delivering greater operational efficiencies. “
Steve Williams, co-founder and principal at Cornerstone Advisors, an Arizona-based strategic planning consultancy for credit unions and community banks, shared that take on Leonardson.
“Butch was one of the early symbols of professionalizing IT in the credit union industry,” Williams said. “I loved how he brought a feeling of optimism and growth to IT instead of the typical embattlement and resource constraints that unfortunately can take over a culture.”