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Bill Maurin steps down as Meridian/motusbank President & CEO
May 25, 2021
2:19 pm
KamWest
Toronto
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Good afternoon to you all,

I am reaching out today on behalf of Meridian’s Board of Directors to confirm directly with you an announcement made publicly this week. Bill Maurin, President & CEO of Meridian/motusbank, is stepping down after a successful seven-year tenure in his current role and 18 years with the organization, effective May 31, 2021.

Meridian’s Board of Directors has appointed Gary Genik as Interim President & Chief Executive Officer of Meridian/motusbank, effective June 1, 2021. Bill will stay on to assist Gary in an advisory capacity until July 31, 2021, to ensure a smooth transition. The Board has retained an independent firm to conduct a national search and we will adhere closely to Board policies and procedures, including diversity and inclusion, to ensure that Meridian finds the most qualified candidate for the position.

On behalf of the Board, I want to acknowledge Bill’s tireless dedication and commitment to making lives better for our Members. Under his leadership, Meridian has grown its assets under management from $10 billion to $26.5 billion as of end of 2020, expanded its digital banking offering and increased its branch footprint by nearly 50 per cent. During this time, the organization also brought in two fully owned subsidiaries, Meridian OneCap Credit Corp. and motusbank. Meridian has been indelibly shaped by Bill’s imprint and we thank him for his years of dedicated service and insight.

I would like to express our appreciation to Gary Genik, who is well-positioned for this Interim President & CEO role, having served as Meridian’s Senior Vice President of Operations & Technology since 2009 and Chief Operating Officer since 2018. He will be strongly supported by an experienced and capable Executive Leadership Team and the Board.

Meridian’s future direction has been the focus of important discussions between Bill and the Board for quite some time now. A new cycle of strategic planning is underway – this is a logical window for us to accelerate succession planning to ensure the organization is well-positioned to move through a transformational period and develop the next corporate strategy.

Moving forward, we are starting the next chapter of our compelling growth story on great footing. 2020 was a solid year of financial performance with growth in revenue, Membership base and total relationships. Meridian’s agile approach, adaptive culture and strong financial soundness were highlighted at our recent AGM as key assets in navigating the pandemic.

As we get ready to move into the second half of 2021, we are leading into a really important time for our Members and for Meridian. We have learned that the secret to not just managing through but thriving in the rapidly changing world around us is to ensure we are well-equipped to adapt quickly, move forward, together.

This is why we have reaffirmed our commitment to helping our Members build resilience and achieve wellbeing, with the recent release of an inspirational “What if” brand awareness campaign. It speaks to our values and gets right to the heart of how we will always challenge ourselves to do even better as partners, advisors, and supporters. We are eager to share some other projects and initiatives as they unfold.

I would like to close with a special thank-you to you, our Members, for your confidence in us. We remain focused on delivering service excellence and a differentiated Member experience, as we stay true to our greater purpose, helping Canadians achieve a better life.

Please stay safe, be well and thank-you.

Karen Farbridge
Chair, Meridian Board of Directors

May 25, 2021
2:19 pm
KamWest
Toronto
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Just got that via email

A lot in there if you read between the lines.

May 25, 2021
2:51 pm
HermanH
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For the benefit of those who cannot read between the lines, how about you giving us your analysis and interpretation?

May 25, 2021
6:24 pm
KamWest
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HermanH said
For the benefit of those who cannot read between the lines, how about you giving us your analysis and interpretation?  

It was a disagreement of sorts, here is the first indications thereof...

"
In the release, Meridian indicated that changing member needs, marketplace factors and “accelerated forces in the financial industry” were the catalysts for discussions between Meridian’s board and Maurin about the credit union’s future direction.
"

May 25, 2021
10:07 pm
Loonie
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There's a lot of gobbledygook in that message. Many many words but little substance. At no point are we told what they expected of him that he did not or could not do.
Seems to me he was essentially fired but made a deal with them. I wonder what the package was that he negotiated.

I think this sentence is important, from the blurb: "We have learned that the secret to not just managing through but thriving in the rapidly changing world around us is to ensure we are well-equipped to adapt quickly, move forward, together."
I would interpret that to mean they thought he should have been more agile in response to the pandemic and possibly other things as well and that Meridian should have made more money, but I did not read the annual reports this year or attend AGM.
We'd need to know more about which sectors of Meridian were not "thriving" adequately to satisfy the board.
Seems to me Meridian, including its board, must have decided at some point to act more like a bank, which they have done, so the result should not be surprising. Opening a lot of new branches and opening a new bank are expensive operations and will take time to recoup the investments. Seems like they either couldn't wait or didn't think things would improve.

I think it's very significant that this wordy statement came from the chair of the board and not from the chair and Maurin jointly. We don't know his view.
One can only hope the board knows what it is doing.

May 26, 2021
3:50 am
KamWest
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@Loonie

This quote from the main article...

The Board has retained an independent firm to conduct a national search and we will adhere closely to Board policies and procedures, including diversity and inclusion, to ensure that Meridian finds the most qualified candidate for the position.

----------

They have a temporary guy stepping in and are looking for a new ceo.
I don't know about you but I have run a multi million dollar company and this approach sounds desperate to me. They now have to hunt for a qualified person who may or may not know anything about the company.

In my businesses we prepped the next managers, I was someone who came up the ranks and eventually ran the company. Nobody knew the company better than me because I was there for 25 years and worked my way up the ladder. I knew every nut and bolt of the operation. They tried three outside people and it went bust every time. Eventually the promotions went from within because the staff that was there for years and years knew the operation best.

The best comparison I can give you is Yahoo, that company was destroyed by new ceo's stepping in and each one was worse than the other. Had they taken a senior employee, that knew the companies key operations, I think they would have done better.

I worry a bit about all of this, I have a lot of money invested in Meridian and Motus and this news release does not make me feel comfortable.

May 26, 2021
4:18 am
Bud
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May 26, 2021
6:26 am
Loonie
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I've never run a multi-million dollar company, but I have sat on the board of a multi-million dollar charity when it was going through the process of hiring a new CEO. we hired internally. I chaired the meeting where the organization decided to go out on a limb and buy a new building and take on the costs of it.

However, I know from other life experiences that it's perfectly normal for a large corporation to hire a head hunting firm to help them develop a short list of good interested candidates. They may also help them develop the new job description. Such firms will quite likely know more about where to find such people than the board does as that is their specialty. It's a service, like any other.
When an organization wants to change directions in some way, as this one appears to be wanting to do, hiring from outside will often make the most sense because internal candidates may be seen as wedded to the old ways and the org wants a fresh start with new ideas and experiences gained elsewhere. If they are happy with the way things are going and perhaps the old CEO has simply retired, they may be very happy with a strong internal candidate.
When you get to a very high level with a very high salary and package, a lot of people actually will not apply for jobs even if qualified. They don't want to join the fray. They actually expect that a head hunter will contact them to find out if they are interested or if they would recommend someone who might be interested. The vetting is exploratory on both sides at the head hunter level. It enables them to keep their pride as they know they won't be interviewed unless they are a serious candidate. It can save everyone a lot of fuss and muss.
Spouse has been contacted by head hunters from time to time who were looking for a candidate for a particular kind of job. We never were interested but were sometimes able to suggest others.

With Meridian being one of the largest CUs in the country, there would not be many to choose from and they may not want to move to Toronto. So they might choose a second-i-n-command from another large CU, someone who has been CEO of a somewhat smaller one or someone from the banking/investment sector. The new CEO will have to be able to get up to speed quickly on both CU and banking sectors since Meridian owns a bank.

As for the sponsorships, yes, I have been aware of them for some time. They are costly, but they are also normal for large financial institutions, telecoms etc. It's a way of getting their name out there and giving the impression they are doing good in the community. The big banks all do a lot of this kind of thing and have fairly large internal departments devoted to it.
I don't know enough about the finances of Meridian to say whether their reach has exceeded their grasp.

May 26, 2021
7:22 am
savemoresaveoften
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CEO disagree with board, decides to leave or get show the door. It happens all the time. Whats the big fuss just because its Meridian CU ?

May 26, 2021
11:02 am
HermanH
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KamWest said
In my businesses we prepped the next managers, I was someone who came up the ranks and eventually ran the company. Nobody knew the company better than me because I was there for 25 years and worked my way up the ladder. I knew every nut and bolt of the operation. They tried three outside people and it went bust every time. Eventually the promotions went from within because the staff that was there for years and years knew the operation best.

The best comparison I can give you is Yahoo, that company was destroyed by new ceo's stepping in and each one was worse than the other. Had they taken a senior employee, that knew the companies key operations, I think they would have done better.

I have read about companies where CEOs were required to submit succession plans as a matter of policy. I do not know how widespread the practice is, but think it is an interesting idea. Death comes at the most inopportune times. 🙂

Was that ever a consideration for your businesses?

May 26, 2021
1:36 pm
COIN
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"I have read about companies where CEOs were required to submit succession plans as a matter of policy. I do not know how widespread the practice is, but think it is an interesting idea. Death comes at the most inopportune times. " 

Our company has 3 CEO's "in waiting" and they are not allowed on the same plane at the same time.

May 26, 2021
4:15 pm
Loonie
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Succession planning makes good sense. Meridian obviously had someone who could quickly take over the reins and has done so on an interim basis.
However, it's the board's job to hire and fire the CEO, nobody else's. If they want to change directions, they can change the way the CEO is chosen and are not obliged to follow the existing plan or appoint the previous CEO's nominee.

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