Webster Financial‘s board has elected Director, President and Chief Executive Officer John R. Ciulla to succeed James C. Smith as chairman of the board of directors.
Ciulla joined Webster in 2004 and has served in several management positions with increasing responsibility, including chief credit risk officer and head of Commercial Banking. In 2015 he was promoted to president and to CEO in January 2018. Ciulla is also the president of the bank’s holding company and a member of the Webster Bank board of directors. He also serves on the Federal Reserve System’s Federal Advisory Council as a representative for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (First District).
Smith joined Webster in 1975 and became president in 1982. He was promoted to CEO in 1987 upon the retirement of Webster’s founder (and Smith’s father) Harold Webster Smith. Smith became chairman and CEO in 1995 and retired as CEO in January 2018. At that time, he became non-executive Chairman.
“Webster’s leadership succession plan, implemented seamlessly over several years, is now complete. The board and I believe that Webster will thrive under a principled leader who serves as both chairman and CEO. John is that leader, having ably demonstrated his leadership skills, strategic acumen and responsible stewardship of the values that define Webster,” said Smith. “As I conclude my service to this great company, I celebrate its future knowing that Webster is in excellent hands. I am forever grateful to Webster’s bankers who are steadfastly committed to adding value for those who rely upon them.”
“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Jim for his significant and noteworthy contributions to Webster and the banking industry for over four decades. His impeccable career as chairman and CEO has led Webster to be recognized as a leading mid-size bank in the country,” said Bill Atwell, lead independent director of the Webster board of directors. “John has continued to deliver strong results and is a well-respected leader who personifies our cultural values which have been integral to the success of Webster.”
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