The credit union community has been preparing for a new generation of leaders to take over for what seems like a very long time. We’ve been writing about succession planning and the loss of baby boomer talent for years at CU Times. Yet, with a few notable exceptions, the same leaders have remained in place.

However, so far this year, we’ve seen some big changes. SECU’s Jim Blaine, arguably the credit union CEO with the most name recognition and visibility, announced his retirement last week. On the West Coast, the credit union community is still in shock after learning that Gene O’Rourke passed away after a long career that included helping countless leaders move into the corner office.

I’m writing this column from CO-OP’s THiNK conference in San Diego, where everybody is whispering about who will replace longtime CEO Stan Hollen, who retires at the end of this month. Another big job up for grabs is CEO of the Cornerstone League; Dick Ensweiler is also here at THiNK and will soon pass that baton. Several CUNA and league leaders are here, after wrapping up the trade association’s large credit union forum meeting in nearby Palm Desert. Undoubtedly, change was on the agenda there, too.

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