The Westchester County Association will look for a new leader to succeed William Mooney Jr., who plans to step down next year following more than a decade at the head of the organization.
The WCA said that it has launched a search committee to fill the dual roles of its president and CEO, Mooney, who first took over leadership in 2004.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Mooney said he will turn 80 years old next year and decided the time felt right to move on and spend more time with family, including grandchildren.
But he said he’ll “still be busy,” with plans to remain active in the organization, as well as through other roles in the Westchester and Hudson Valley business communities.
“If you know me at all, you know I’m a pretty active guy,” Mooney said. “I’m in a lot of activities outside the Westchester County Association. It’s in my blood to be active. My father lived to 94 and he was still doing things.”
In written comments for the succession announcement, Mooney said leading the WCA was “my life’s great honor and I could not be prouder of the role our team has played in contributing to the county’s continued economic growth. I am confident Westchester’s best days are still ahead and look forward to supporting the WCA’s next leader in realizing the vision we have developed together.”
Before Mooney steps aside, he said he will help with the search for his replacement. The WCA has formed a search committee and hopes to find the right candidate by early next year.
Mooney will advise that process, as well as stay on to help train his replacement through 2019.
Mooney’s career in the region’s business and banking communities has stretched more than 50 years. Before joining the WCA, Mooney was a senior vice president of Independence Community Bank where he was responsible for all business activities in Westchester County and Connecticut. He was also previously executive vice president of Union State Bank and president and CEO of Hudson Valley Bank. Mooney launched his career with Citibank at age 19 before working for Chase Manhattan Bank and Chemical Bank.
Mooney is credited with shifting the WCA, which was founded in 1950, from a business membership network to an organization with an economic development focus.
Under Mooney’s leadership, the WCA launched the Blueprint for Westchester, an advocacy campaign focused on repurposing the county’s millions of square feet of underutilized space to mixed-use. The WCA also created a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Healthcare Reform and managed a $9.8 million federal workforce development grant, the largest in the county’s history.
The WCA is also leading a public-private initiative to bring gigabit speed internet to Westchester’s four largest cities.
“Whoever replaces Bill will have enormous shoes to fill, but a great opportunity to shape how we meet the needs of a changing Westchester economy,” WCA Vice President Amy Allen said in the announcement.
The WCA said the ideal candidate will have a passion for Westchester, understanding of the political landscape and industry trends, as well as a proven track record of fundraising.
Asked what qualities he’s looking for in his replacement, Mooney noted its a job that’s not easily described.
“Everything is based on the ever-changing economics of our community and nation,” Mooney said. “So having some flexibility and vision, and the ability to work with our wonderful community is the single biggest asset one could have.”