James C. Smith, chairman and CEO of Webster Financial, is retiring after 40 years with the bank and transitioning to non-executive chairman. John R. Ciulla, president, will become the company’s CEO and a member of the holding company’s board of directors.
Ciulla will succeed Smith, who has served as Webster’s CEO since 1987, and will be the third CEO in Webster’s 82-year history. These changes, effective January 1, 2018, reflect the culmination of a multi-year leadership succession planning process.
“It has been an honor to lead Webster and work with our community-minded, values-guided bankers as we’ve built Webster into the leading regional bank we are today. 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 in 2004 as senior vice president for Middle Market Banking and has served in a variety of management positions with increasing responsibility, including as chief credit risk officer from 2008 to 2010. He was promoted to executive vice president and head of Middle Market Banking in 2011, and became head of Commercial Banking in 2014.
Ciulla was appointed president of Webster in 2015, and is currently responsible for the management of most of the company’s business units and support functions.