BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — SALEM — Things are changing at the top of Salem Five bank, which announced its leadership transition plan yesterday.
President and CEO Joseph M. Gibbons, the 11-year CEO and longtime bank employee, plans to step down in about a year and a half and retire at the end of March 2015.
He will be succeeded by another longtime bank employee, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ping Yin Chai, as announced yesterday by the mutual bank founded in 1855.
Plans are for Gibbons, who has worked for Salem Five for 34 years, to step down Dec. 31, 2014, and retire on March 31, 2015. The bank’s trustees and directors have approved Chai, a 32-year bank employee, to succeed Gibbons as president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2015.
“I have been very fortunate to spend 34 years at Salem Five and I have been honored to serve as its president and CEO,” said Gibbons in a prepared statement. “Having worked closely with Ping Yin for over 30 years, I know that the bank will be in excellent hands.”
Gibbons, a graduate of Bentley University with a master’s degree from Suffolk University, went to work for Salem Five in 1979 as the comptroller, serving the bank in various capacities before becoming president and CEO in 2002. Gibbons has grown the bank’s assets by more than $2 billion. The bank now has $3.3 billion in assets and 29 retail branches in Essex and Middlesex counties.
The bank also provides commercial, mortgage, investment and insurance products and services.
Gibbons has supported numerous charities and professional organizations over the years, including the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem, the Salem YMCA, the YMCA of the North Shore and the Essex National Heritage Commission.
He serves as a member of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs, the American Institute of CPAs and the Bentley University Executive Club, and as a trustee of the Savings Bank Employees Retirement Association.
During his time at Salem Five, Chai developed Salem Five Mortgage into an industry leader, the bank said. Chai is responsible for the bank’s finance and investment portfolio. He has also managed Salem Five Insurance and Investment Services divisions. Chai graduated with honors from Bentley and holds a master’s in business administration from Suffolk.
He is an active advisory board member of Fannie Mae, and he recently served on the advisory board of the Federal Home Loan Bank.
“Ping Yin has played a critical role in the bank’s significant growth and success,” Gibbons said. “His institutional and cultural knowledge, combined with his financial acumen, will provide visionary leadership.”
With the changes, Senior Vice President Bruce Potter has been promoted to executive vice president, and he will continue to oversee enterprise risk management, legal, internal audit and compliance functions. Potter, a Salem State graduate, will also assume a larger role in business line management and strategic planning. He has worked at Salem Five for the past 17 years, and he has 33 years of financial services experience.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.