James C. Smith, only the second CEO in the 82-year history of Webster Financial, is retiring from the bank his father founded and will be succeeded by company president John R. Ciulla, effective Jan. 1.
Ciulla will also join Waterbury-headquartered Webster’s board of directors. He is also the board chair of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.
“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. “I have benefited 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,” he said.
“Over the past 10 years in particular, we’ve undertaken a transformation to position Webster for continued growth as a high-performing regional bank,” Smith said. “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.”
“John has contributed greatly to our successful transformation based on his consistently high performance, strategic acumen and strong leadership skills,” Smith said.
Ciulla joined Webster Bank in 2004 as senior vice president for middle market banking, and later served as chief credit risk officer, among other leadership posts.
The firm also announced Albert J. Wang as its new chief accounting officer for both the holding company and Webster Bank. Wang was most recently chief accounting officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and previously served as chief accounting officer at Banc of California.
Webster Bank operates 177 branches and 316 ATMs in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Westchester County.