WALLA WALLA — Mark Kajita, the executive vice president and Wealth Management Division manager at Baker Boyer Bank, has been named the company’s new president in a management change that will begin at the start of the new year.
Megan Clubb, longtime president and chief executive officer, will hand over many of her day-to-day responsibilities to Kajita in the move. However, Clubb will continue as CEO, as well as chairman of the bank’s executive committee and its board of directors. She will also continue to represent community banks on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, a responsibility that takes an increasing amount of time and dedication.
As part of the transition, Peter Allen, a member of the sixth generation of the bank’s founding family, will succeed Kajita as Wealth Management Division manager.
Clubb said the changes were announced to the company’s nearly 180 employees Monday.
“I can enthusiastically welcome Mark and Peter to their new roles in large part because of our leadership team and great employees,” she said in a prepared statement.
Along with Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Hess and Executive Vice President and Banking Division Manager Lyle Hansen, the executive management team continues to operate with the same faces, even despite some shifts in duties.
“It’s a real continuity,” Clubb said this morning. “This bank — our executive team — we’ve always worked really well as a team, and that’s not going to stop.”
Although Baker Boyer is reputed for its family ties, Clubb said it’s no departure to have a nonfamily member in an executive role.
One example, she said, was Vernon Kegley, who served as president of Baker Boyer between the terms of Baker Ferguson and Steve Kimball.
“Running the bank with family and nonfamily is key to our success,” Clubb said.
Clubb has been with the bank 23 years, earning the role of president in 2000 and CEO in 2002.
During her tenure Baker Boyer — Washington’s oldest independently owned community bank — has ranked in the top 200 for financial performance among several thousand community banks across the country each of the past six years and topping at 14 this year. The bank has been listed among the best mid-sized companies to work for in Seattle Business Magazine for eight years, winning the award in 2011.
Clubb has also been recognized for her leadership and mentoring of women in banking and was named one of 10 Women of Influence by Seattle Magazine. She also is a trustee at Whitman College.
Her multiple roles particularly as a Federal Reserve director, takes an exceeding amount of time with meetings every two weeks. Once a month she travels to San Francisco to meet. Next month, she’ll represent the board in Washington, D.C., with the governors of the Federal Reserve.
“I think it’s really important work,” she said. “I’m representing the voice of small business. I’m representing those of us on Main Street, USA.”
Her work includes challenging and questioning current monetary policy choices, she said.
Kajita, a Walla Walla native, has been with Baker Boyer since 2003, when he started as portfolio manager in the Investment Management and Trust Group. Before that he earned his degree in business administration at the University of Washington and began as a certified public accountant with Ernst and Young in Seattle.
After returning to Walla Walla he continued to assist clients with services in business advising, financial planning, charitable giving, family wealth distribution and trust and estate planning. At Baker Boyer he rose to senior portfolio manager before being promoted to executive vice president and Wealth Management Division manager and a member of the bank’s Executive Committee in 2010.
He’s a commentator for Bloomberg, CNBC and Fox Business channels, advising national and international economic trends, as well as investments. He is also a board member for the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, trustee of the Spokane Episcopal Diocese Foundation and as an overseer of Whitman College.
“I am very pleased at having the opportunity to work with Megan and the rest of our leadership team and our employees to help Baker Boyer Bank maintain its position as a top performing bank and a great place to work,” he said in a prepared statement.
After graduating from Whitman College and earning his juris doctorate from George Washington University School of Law, Allen practiced law in Tacoma for five years before returning to Walla Walla in 2006 to join the bank as a trust officer working closely with Kajita.
Allen joined the board of directors in 2011 and is currently the leader of the Yakima Wealth Management team. He also serves on the Community Ministry Board at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.
Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8321.