PHOENIX — Gary L. Plank, the president/CEO of the Arizona Credit Union System and a veteran in managing state leagues having served the industry 41 years, is retiring next June.

“There’s always mixed feelings about leaving this job since it’s been a good run for me and for credit unions in my state,” said Plank who also is chairman of the World Council of Credit Unions.

“Arizona CUs,” he said, “have matured from small cigar boxes to sophisticated financial institutions and now have 1.5 million members.” Besides that, ACUS, one of the smaller leagues, retains some of the largest CU assets in the country at $8 billion. In terms of seniority, Plank, who turned 65, Oct. 21, ranks only behind Gary B. Wolter of the Alabama League in having the most years in managing state leagues. Plank has long held top leadership jobs in CUNA serving as chairman of World Affairs Committee representing World Council and he was a member of CUNA’s Executive Committee and CUNA’s Board from 1993-1997. He also is a member of the CUNA Audit and Finance Committees.

He has served as chairman of U.S. Central Credit Union, the Credit Union Legislative Action Committee, and the American Association of Credit Union Leagues.

His term on World Council will end in July 2007 “so for one month I will be retired,” said Plank.

He joined the 62-member Arizona Credit Union System as CEO in January 1997 and previously held the same position at the Minnesota League of Credit Unions from 1983 to 1996. Prior to that, he was senior vice president and executive vice president with the Iowa Credit Union League and also was managing director at the South Dakota League.

Within World Council, he serves as a director of WOCCU’s Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, Inc. and the WOCCU Services Group.

The ACUS Board has hired O’Rourke Career Connections of Brisbane, Calif. to conduct a search for his replacement, said Linda Dhaemers, ACUS chairman and president/CEO of Desert Energy Credit Union of Tucson.

“Finding a replacement for someone like Gary who has that level of experience and who has made many contributions to the industry will not be easy,” said Dhaemers. “He will be greatly missed.”

Plank has been a national leader in fostering ties with Latin American credit unions and on that front he was instrumental in establishing an international partnership with Caja Libertad in Mexico.

The agreement was signed in October 2003 on International Credit Union Day and during International Credit Union day this year a group from Caja Libertad visited the league.

Plank said his retirement and/or job plans are uncertain, but “I do plan to spend a little time at Pinetop” a northern Arizona resort town.