CHERRY HILL, N.J.-The role of the CEO and the skill sets required have changed since 2008, contends David Ardire.
In his new role as CEO of the $150-million Campbell Employees FCU, Ardire plans to push to the top of his list ways to promote key revenue-driving streams and to devise methods to address any negative PR if Campbell Employees eventually determines it has to add or increase fees. He also plans to sell hard the image of the CU advantage to workers within its primary sponsor.
"I plan to get out to our plant locations-we have five at Campbell's Soup Co. sites, and maybe have a credit union day. I might just put a chair outside the office, sit down, and say 'Come meet the CEO,'" said Ardire.
"Before the entire economy changed in 2008-and the financial services industry along with it-if you could manage an Excel spreadsheet you could do OK running a credit union," continued Ardire, before noting it's no longer about spread management. "Now spreads have evaporated. We have to focus more on revenue-driving sources such as lending, non-interest income, and we have to at least consider fees, which is never popular with members. That change demands the CEO put on the marketing hat more often."
That has made communication and relationship-building skills more important. "The CEO can't be behind the curtain anymore. You have to get out and speak to the community, shake hands and stay in close touch with the membership."
For Ardire, the new job brings him back to his roots. He started at the same credit union in 1979, straight out of college, working as a manager in the IT and accounting areas for five years when it was located in Camden, N.J. inside the main office of Campbell's Soup Co. He then worked for the sponsor for 20 years, and from 2004-11 worked at manufacturer Piramal Enterprises. He returned to CEFCU in 2011 as CFO, taking over as CEO in January.