McDermott + Bull Recruits Chief Risk Officer for Bank of the Sierra

October 5, 2023 – Irvine, CA-based search firm McDermott + Bull has recruited Natalia Coen as executive vice president and chief risk officer at Bank of the Sierra. The search was completed by McDermott + Bull president Brandon Biegenzahn, managing director Courtney Dorrel, and senior executive recruiter Rachel Loye. “We are overjoyed to add Natalia to the team at Bank of the Sierra,” said Kevin McPhaill, the bank’s president and CEO. “The addition of Natalia is yet another sign that our company continues to grow, and we know her abilities and experience will be critical to our future success.”

Ms. Coen brings nearly 20 years of risk and compliance leadership experience in the banking industry. She joins Bank of the Sierra from Gateway First Bank, where she served as risk and compliance officer. In this position, Ms. Coen managed Gateway’s enterprise risk management framework, which included establishing its risk monitoring, metrics, and tolerance. Previously, she served as senior vice president, director of compliance for CoBiz Financial and its subsidiary CoBiz Bank, in Denver, CO.

Ms. Coen has an extensive history of voluntary leadership across numerous organizations. She previously served as a certified regulatory compliance manager advisory board member with the American Bankers Association. Ms. Coen was also board treasurer, and later board president, for the Colorado Compliance Professionals Association. She also served as board treasurer and a finance committee member for The Action Center, a community non-profit organization in Colorado.

Bank of the Sierra is a community-centric regional bank, which offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking services through full-service branches located within the California counties of Tulare, Kern, Kings, Fresno, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara. The bank also maintains an online branch and provides specialized lending services through agricultural credit centers in Templeton and a loan production office in Roseville, CA.

Related: McDermott + Bull Recruits CFO for Community West Bank

McDermott + Bull provides mission-critical permanent executive placement and interim solutions for a range of domestic and global clients. The firm serves private and public companies, private equity firms and their operating companies across multiple industries, including technology, financial services, biotech and life sciences, and professional services.

Experienced Search Consultants

Mr. Biegenzahn holds dual roles as president of McDermott + Bull and chair of the firm’s financial services practice group. As president, he leads day-to-day operations as well as the strategic buildout of the team of executive search managing directors. As chair of the financial services practice group, Mr. Biegenzahn is a partner to an array of financial services firms, including investment banks, commercial banks, private banks, credit unions, asset managers, institutional investors and fintech companies.

McDermott + Bull Recruits Chief Banking Officer for Pacific Mercantile Bank
McDermott + Bull has placed Sean Foley as the chief banking officer of Pacific Mercantile Bancorp, the holding company of Pacific Mercantile Bank, a wholly owned banking subsidiary. The assignment was led by president Brandon Biegenzahn and vice president Michelle Davis. Mr. Foley brings 25 years of experience leading commercial lending teams. Earlier in his career, he served as executive vice president, regional president of US Bank’s Southern California commercial banking group for 10 years.

Ms. Dorrel partners with the principal consultants on executive level searches. Her prior professional experience includes admissions recruitment for a nationally-recognized trade college, as well as recruiting for technology and pharmaceutical/medical device professionals at small boutique firms.

Chief Risk Officers

In the aftermath of the NPA (non-performing asset) blowout, the stress across key financial institutions both in the public and private sector and the potential of a contagion eect, the burning need for stringent risk management practices emerged as a top priority for financial institutions including NBFCs (non-banking financial companies).

Therefore, it came as no surprise when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) intervened to define a set of guidelines to give definition to the role of a chief risk ocer in NBFCs. Earlier, in 2017, RBI had prescribed rules for CROs in the banking ecosystem. As per the recent announcement, RBI has mandated NBFCs with asset size of more than INR 5,000 crores to appoint a CRO who will function independently to ensure the highest standards of risk management. While this is a welcome move, says a new report from EMA Partners International, the natural question that follows is, How does an organization safeguard the independence of the function?

Successful CROs of the future should have the ability to foresee and address new challenges, according to the study. They should have the anity to work with huge data sets and must have a solid understanding of risk and collections analytics. They must also simultaneously be able to harmonize cross-functional teams. These qualities will dierentiate a modern-day CRO from a traditional one. “The new-age CRO is expected to leverage digital technologies (AI, data analytics, and ML) to transform underwriting and decision in order to help build a robust risk management organization for the company,” said EMA Partners International.

“With the changing definition of a CRO’s role, searches have taken a dierent turn. There is greater integration of operational risk into credit risk management and more emphasis on bringing in a strategic CRO versus a transactional one,” said EMA Partners International. “As boards evaluate CROs, it is important to not lose sight of their track records.”

“Going forward, institutions will have to be more proactive in their approach as only remedial measures may not enough to tide through dicult business cycles,” said the report. “As regulatory requirements, consumer behavior and spending patterns are rapidly evolving, companies with a robust credit risk department will stand the test of time.”

Related: McDermott + Bull Recruits Chief Accounting Officer for First American Financial Corp.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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