Sterling picks Heidi Stanley as new CEO

Heidi Stanley has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Sterling Savings Bank.

Her appointment will follow the Dec. 31 retirement of William Zuppe, who founded the Spokane bank with Harold Gilkey in 1981.

Zuppe, 66, will retain his positions as chairman of the bank’s board, and director of the bank’s parent company, publicly traded Sterling Financial Corp.

Gilkey runs Sterling Financial as chairman and CEO.

Together, Gilkey and Zuppe grew Sterling from a small thrift into a regional financial force with $9.8 billion in assets under management.

Stanley credits her 22-year career and promotion to the duo, who mentored her to become a company and community business leader.

“Heidi Stanley has demonstrated excellent leadership skills,” Zuppe said in a news release. She has been an active member of Spokane’s business community, serving on the board of Avista Corp., and as immediate past chair of Greater Spokane Incorporated.

And she is past chair of the Association of Washington Business and of the Spokane area YMCA.

In 2006 she was named among the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” by U.S. Banker magazine.

Stanley, who will retain her position as vice chair of the bank’s board of directors, has been part of Sterling’s succession planning.

“I have been fortunate over my years at Sterling to work with dedicated employees committed to growing this company,” Stanley, a Washington State University graduate, said in the release.

Zuppe has served as chairman for banking trade group America’s Community Bankers, is a past chairman of the Washington Savings League, and was a member of the Federal Reserve Board – Thrift Institutions Advisory Council.

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