Whidbey Island Bank photo

Jack Wagner, Whidbey Island Bank CEO

Washington Banking Co.  , parent of Whidbey Island Bank  , says it will have a new president and CEO starting Jan. 1, 2012. Current CEO Jack Wagner will remain in his current role until that time.

The new leader, Bryan McDonald, is currently Whidbey Island’s commericial banking manager and chief operating officer. Previously he was a commercial banking manager at Peoples Bank  , of Lynden. He held the same position at Washington Mutual  , the giant Seattle thrift that failed in 2008.

Three others at Whidbey Island — George Bowen, Edward Eng, and Daniel Kuenzi — were promoted to executive roles. Earlier this month I reported the bank’s chief credit officer, Joe Niemer, plans to step down at the end of the year because he is retiring. Today’s announcement indicates he will be replaced by Kuenzi.

Wagner said in a statement the shift was to “take better advantage of the expertise of our team.”

Tony Pickering, Washington Banking Co.’s chairman of the board said they had been planning this transition for years. “As directors, we know how important it is for companies to plan management succession,” he said.

Wagner’s tenure at Whidbey Island was marked by success. He navigated the bank through the financial downturn, actually doubling its size through two acquisitions of failed Washington banks (Lynnwood-based City Bank  and Arlington-based North County Bank  ).

He told me in a candid interview in February that the recession was a stressful time for the institution. Telling a bank it has failed “feels like announcing a death in the family,” he said.

Whidbey Island Bank, based in Oak Harbor, has $ 1.67 billion in assets and 30 branches.

KELLY GILBLOM covers banking, finance and wealth management for the Puget Sound Business Journal. Phone: 206-876-5428 | Email: [email protected] | Twitter: KellyGilblom | Click here to sign up for the PSBJ Daily Update.

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