WBA President/CEO Kurt R. Bauer is leaving the association to assume the same role at the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the state’s largest business trade group.
Bauer started with WBA in 1993 as a staff writer/media assistant and was later promoted to vice president of government relations. He left WBA in 2002 to run the Arizona Bankers Association, but returned in 2004 to replace Harry Argue upon his retirement.
WBA Chairman Bob Just of Mound City Bank, Platteville announced that he will appoint a search committee to find Bauer’s replacement.
“WBA is as strong today as it has ever been in its 119-year history,” Just said. “That includes WBA’s financial condition, the quality of its staff and the influence the association wields in regulatory and legislative matters.”
Just praised Bauer for his leadership over the last seven years and expressed confidence that the WBA and its subsidiaries’ employees are more than capable of continuing the high level of advocacy, service and leadership Wisconsin bankers have come to expect and rely on from the state’s oldest and largest financial industry trade group.
“It has been an incredible honor to represent banks over the last 18 years,” Bauer said. “My affection for bankers and my deep respect for the employees of WBA, FIPCO and EBC makes the decision to leave very difficult.”
Bauer said that he is proud of what WBA has accomplished during his tenure and especially in response to the 2008 financial crisis. “WBA is regarded as one of the best and most effective banking trade associations in the nation. That will not change after my departure.”
He said that he will continue to fight for banks in his new role by working to improve Wisconsin’s business climate.
Bauer’s last day will be March 30 at which time WBA Senior Vice President/Counsel Rose Oswald Poels will serve as interim CEO. Oswald Poels has worked for WBA for 20 years.