ONTARIO, Calif. – Bob Rose, CEO of CO-OP Network, the largest credit union-owned, surcharge-free ATM network, will retire from his position in June 2005 in favor of a possible second career as a business teacher at the university level. "CO-OP Network has a number of critical projects in progress that I intend to see through to completion," said Rose. "The board and I have been planning this transition for several years. We've set a mid-year target date to announce my successor and I'll continue in a consulting capacity from that point at least through the end of the year. Until a successor is in place, it's not in my nature to be a lame duck and we have too much in progress to afford me that luxury." "I had set as a goal to retire at 62," Rose said, "and then the board asked me to delay that for 18 months I agreed, but only for that long." Rose came to CO-OP Network in 1990 after serving as President and CEO of the LA Water & Power Credit Union and holding positions with the California Credit Union League and an Illinois credit union. Under his leadership, the CO-OP Network has grown from an organization that consisted of less than 150 member credit unions, 300 ATMs and 50 million annual transactions in California and Nevada to one that includes one billion annual transactions, nearly 20,000 ATMs, and 1,800 credit unions spread across 50 states and 11 countries. Rose said the critical projects that he had stayed on to help finish included bringing the branches of the shared branches belonging to the Shared Service Centers fully in line with CO-OP's switch as the last part of the organizations' merger. CO-OP Network and the Service Center Corporation merged in 2002. He is also committed in staying on to help bring the $1.4 billion Coastal Credit Union fully into the network. "This is a very large new member for us and there is plenty for us to handle before I leave," Rose said. Rose said that the CO-OP Network hiring Muller and Associates, an executive search firm headquartered in New York, represented its desire to look throughout the country for a successor. However he said that does not indicate that the CO-OP won't also consider its inside talent for the position. "I think the board may choose a successor from within," Rose said, "but they wanted to make sure in their decision that they had found the best person they could." Rose said it had been the needs of Muller and Associates to be able to go public with their search, one that they had begun over a month before that had driven the CO-OP to announce his retirement on the night of the November 2 elections. "I guess looking back on it we should have understood that folks, particularly in the media, might have thought we were trying to bury the news, but in reality it was their needs that drove the announcement," Rose said. Rose said that he didn't have a firm plan in place yet about where he will seek to teach business but that he was serious about it. "The two things that I have always thought I would do one day, teach and coach, I have never got a chance to do," Rose said. "So I will take a break for a bit and then I hope to get a chance to do the teaching thing at least." Reactions of Respect Ed Young, senior vice president of Credit Union 24, the nation's second largest credit union-owned ATM network, headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, said that Rose' departure takes a key leader away from the credit union industry. "I don't want to say it's a blow.but in some sense that's what it is," Young said. "I have been fortunate in my life to work with two icons in the credit union movement," Young said. "Jim Park, who is my boss now, and Bob Rose. They each have given their lives in service to building the credit union industry and expanding it and making it flourish and his absence will leave a gap." Young described Rose as a visionary and credited his vision with enabling him to help CO-OP Network take advantage of fortuitous events that happened along the way. "CO-OP Network definitely benefited from certain fortunate events in its growth," Young said, "But it was able to do so in a large part because Rose had the vision to enable it to do so." Young cited the early 1990′s merger between Bank of America and a bank called Security Pacific. Security Pacific had an ATM network called ATM Access that had about 500 credit unions in California. After the merger, Bank of America cut those credit unions loose with only 90 days notice and CO-OP Network was there to offer an alternative, but it would not have done so without the Rose's vision, Young maintained. Curiously, Rose said he never really thought of himself as a being particularly visionary. When he took on the CO-OP in 1990, he had imagined CO-OP maybe becoming at most a Western regional network. He had only changed his mind in 1995 when a merger with CU Access, a credit union-owned ATM Network serving primarily Washington and Oregon made him realize how far the CO-OP Network could go through mergers. Ben Psillas, president of the Allpoint Network and a competitor of the CO-OP Network's said that he doubted anyone could have done more for the credit union surcharge-free ATM industry than Rose. He noted that as there are signs that the surcharge-free model appears to be growing among ATM deployers, Rose, in a sense, will be leaving at the top. "He helped form the surcharge-free ATM model into something which has steadily grown in popularity," Psillas said. "Has a lot to be proud of," he added. -


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