Retired Executive Returns as CEO
For Darrell Merkel, retirement only lasted for about three years.
Merkel, who retired from the $1 billion SAFE Federal Credit Union as an executive vice president in 2014, was named president/CEO of the Sumter, S.C.-based cooperative Tuesday.
He succeeded Beverly Gagne who left earlier this year after 16 years as president/CEO and more than 30 years of service at the credit union.
Merkel said he decided to come out of retirement because he never really left SAFE FCU.
“After I retired as an executive, I spent two years on (SAFE’s) supervisory committee as a credit union volunteer,” he explained. “I was actually in the midst of running for the board of directors when this opportunity arose. I saw a need for executive leadership that I felt I could fill, and happily, the board agreed.”
Merkel joined the credit union nearly 30 years ago as a loan manager and later became vice president of lending. He also served as SAFE FCU’s senior vice president of operations and then worked as an executive vice president for 12 years.
“Darrell Merkel was a strong leader during his original tenure with SAFE and we are happy to have him back as president and CEO,” Kay Oldhouser Davis, SAFE FCU’s board chair, said. “We look forward to the leadership he will provide as we continue to grow and as we continue to provide outstanding service to our more than 100,000 members throughout South Carolina and around the world."