September 19, 2017

Webster's Smith retiring; cedes CEO baton to Ciulla

PHOTO | Webster Financial
PHOTO | Webster Financial
James C. Smith, right, is retiring as CEO of Webster Financial, and President John R. Ciulla, left, will replace him Jan. 1, 2018.

James C. Smith, only the second CEO in the history of Webster Financial, is retiring from the Waterbury lender his father founded and will be succeeded by John R. Ciulla, effective New Year's Day 2018.

Smith, who has served as the parent holding company's CEO since 1987, will remain as nonexecutive chairman of Webster Financial's board, the regional banking giant announced Tuesday.

Separately, Webster announced that Albert J. Wang is the new chief accounting officer for both the holding company and its flagship Webster Bank.

These changes reflect the culmination of a multi-year leadership succession planning process, the bank said.

"It has been an honor to lead Webster and work with our community-minded, values-guided bankers as we've built Webster into the leading regional bank we are today," Smith said in a statement. "Over the past 10 years in particular, we've undertaken a transformation to position Webster for continued growth as a high-performing regional bank. We have successfully developed and implemented our strategic management framework, which invests capital and resources to support strategies that create value for our customers and shareholders."

Smith praised his successor, a Connecticut banking veteran named Webster Bank's president in 2015. Ciulla also is president of the parent company and is the 2017 board chair of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the state's leading business lobby.

"John has contributed greatly to our successful transformation based on his consistently high performance, strategic acumen and strong leadership skills," said Smith. "... We are confident that John is the ideal leader to advance Webster's mission of helping individuals, families and businesses achieve their financial goals."

Ciulla joined flagship Webster Bank in 2004 as senior vice president for middle market banking, and later served as chief credit risk officer, among other leadership posts at the bank.

"I have had the privilege of working closely with Jim over the past 14 years and appreciate and value his principled leadership and extraordinary contributions to Webster,'' Ciulla said in a statement. "I have benefitted from his counsel throughout my career at Webster, and especially from our close working relationship these past few years. As Webster's incoming CEO, I look forward to working with our strong executive management team and leveraging my experience to ensure the great heritage and legacy of Webster continue to be the foundation to advance our strategic priorities."

Wang is a CPA who has more than 20 years of accounting, tax, and audit experience. He most recently was chief accounting officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Wang previously was chief accounting officer of Banc of California. Prior to that, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Santander Bank.

As Webster's chief accounting officer, Wang will oversee all of its corporate accounting functions including corporate tax, regulatory reporting, and accounting policy.

Wang has an accounting degree from the University of Scranton, and an MBA in management information systems from Temple University.

Free E-Newsletters

Sign up now for our daily and weekly
e-newsletters! Click Here

Today's Poll Is Connecticut a smart location for a second Amazon headquarters?<>
Most Popular on Facebook
Copyright 2017 New England Business Media