WSFS Financial Corporation,parent company of WSFS Bank, announced that effective January 1, 2019, Mark A. Turner, chairman, president and CEO, will become the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors and that Rodger Levenson, WSFS’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, will become the Company’s President, CEO member of the Board.
As Executive Chairman, Turner will lead the Board of Directors with Lead Independent Director Eleuthère I. “Thère” du Pont and facilitate the transition to Levenson.
According to a release, Turner will also “leverage his decades of experience in and knowledge of local markets and the banking industry to serve as an external champion for the company, further enhance WSFS’ culture and reputation, and help shape the next chapter of the bank’s growth story.”
Turner a Philadelphia native
Turner, born and raised in Philadelphia and a resident of several communities in the Delaware Valley, was appointed WSFS’ President and CEO in April 2007 and has served in management for more than 22 years, including two decades as a member of the executive leadership team.
Turner succeeded Marvin “Skip” Schoenhals, who was arrived from Michigan to turn around WSFS, which had suffered from a number of bad management moves under his predecessors.
Schoenhals righted the ship and WSFS resumed its growth. Schoenhals also championed a community focus for WSFS, with involvement in areas such as education.
The transition to Turner turned out to be seamless. During more than 11 years at the helm, a period that included the deepest recession since the Great Depression, Turner and his leadership team grew the bank and expanded its activities in wealth management and other areas.
WSFS gets larger via acquisitions
WSFS was also able to acquire smaller banks that were in good shape, but were struggling under the weight of added regulations – an outgrowth of the financial crisis.
WSFS also made investments in the training of staff and overall customer service while increasing market share and returns for WSFS shareholders.
Since the months just after the 2008 financial crisis when the company recorded a stock market value of about $100 million, WSFS’ market capitalization has increased to more than $1.7 billion, and investors have seen a total shareholder return in excess of 900 percent.
WSFS emerged as Delaware’s largest locally based bank and a major player in the Delaware Valley after a series of acquisitions.
Meanwhile, financial woes sunk former No. 1, Wilmington Trust (now M&T. Wilmington Trust serves as M&T’s investment management arm).
Lifelong Delaware Valley resident
Levenson is also a lifelong resident of the Delaware Valley and has more than 32 years of local banking experience.
He joined WSFS in 2006 and has served in various executive leadership roles, including Chief Commercial Banking Officer (2006-2015) and interim Chief Financial Officer (2015-2016). Most recently, fromJune 2016toAugust 2017, as Chief Corporate Development Officer.
Levenson led cross-functional teams to evaluate, negotiate and integrate many mergers, acquisitions, and large capital transactions. Since August 2017, he has led the company’s executive leadership team as Chief Operating Officer and has assumed other executive responsibilities as Turner’s deputy.
Director du Pont said, “This transition is part of our thoughtful, deliberate, and continual Board and executive management succession planning process. The success that our company has experienced throughout Mark’s tenure is evident: more than 11 years of disciplined, sustained and profitable growth; superior total shareholder returns and market valuation; eight mergers and acquisitions, including expansions in wealth management and banking in the Pennsylvania market; innovative products and partnerships; highly engaged associates and loyal ‘customer advocates’; and a deep commitment to our communities. We are incredibly grateful to Mark for his leadership and we are very pleased to appoint him as our Executive Chairman. The board enthusiastically supports Rodger, who helped Mark lead these efforts, as Rodger builds on our momentum, fosters new thinking, and positions WSFS for even more success.”
“For a long time, I have strongly believed that in a fast-changing society, economy and industry, 10 to 15 years is an optimal period for most leaders to serve as a public company CEO,” said Turner. “The board and I first started discussing the possibility of this transition over five years ago and we have been carefully and thoughtfully planning for it since.”
Turner continued, “I am excited for WSFS and for Rodger. The board helped develop Rodger, evaluated him, and unanimously and enthusiastically selected him to lead WSFS to an even brighter future. He is the right person for the job, is a natural fit, and he will mold the next generation of WSFS leaders. I look forward to the next phase of my service to WSFS, and helping Rodger and WSFS become more successful than ever. I am also eager to explore and take on new challenges in my life.”
“It is truly an honor to carry forward our strategy and lead the organization that Mark and our leadership team have built,” said Levenson. “I am humbled by the trust that Mark and our board have in me and I am grateful to our highly talented WSFS associates who deliver on our mission every single day.”
Levenson earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Temple University, and a Master of Business Administration from Drexel University. He began his banking career in 1986 in Philadelphia at CoreStates Financial (now part of Wells Fargo) and held a number of leadership roles during his 17-year tenure.
He then became a member of Citizens Bank’s regional senior leadership team in 2003 and served in that capacity until he joined WSFS in 2006.
Levenson currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the United Way of Delaware and the ;Wilmington Housing Partnership, and is a member of the Board of Governors for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.