Atlantic Union revamps C-suite functions so CEO can focus on technology and M&A
Atlantic Union Bankshares has transferred day-to-day responsibilities from CEO John Asbury to the president of its banking unit, Maria Tedescoallowing Asbury to focus more on fintech investments and merger opportunities.
The Richmond, Virginia-based company has given Tedesco the additional title of chief operating officer of its $20.1 billion banking subsidiary, Atlantic Union Bank. Tedesco, who served as president since her arrival in September 2018, is now responsible for all technology and back-office operations.
“The bank, as the client lives, is really now under Maria,” Asbury said in an interview. “All of the business units that we now call the operating group” report to Tedesco. “It really gives him more power, and I think that’s a good organizational design for this company.”
Tedesco has managed the customer-facing lines of business since joining Atlantic Union and calls itself the bank’s “unofficial customer manager”. She intends to keep customer service at the center of her expanded responsibilities.
“I see this as a 360 degree approach for enterprise customers,” Tedesco said. “Now when we talk about projects, when we talk about going to market, when we talk about serving customers, we really have a conversation from the back office to the front. … We want to bring the whole bank to every customer.
Analyst Laurie Havener Hunsicker, who covers Atlantic Union for Compass Point, noted Tedesco’s promotion in a research note last week, adding that she was “impressed with Atlantic Union’s management team.”
Atlantic Union reported full-year 2021 earnings of $252 million last week, up about 65% year-over-year. The results prompted Hunsicker to raise its 2022 guidance by 24 cents per share to $2.79.
According to Asbury, who has been CEO of Atlantic Union since January 2017, giving Tedesco full control of the organization should prevent technology and back-office functions from becoming siled.
“We don’t want a seam to appear, so we had to bring these organizations together because they have an absolutely positive impact on the customer experience,” he said. “We need to make sure the customer-centric operating group works like a top.”
With many of his responsibilities assigned to Tedesco, Asbury said he could focus on Atlantic Union’s investments in fintech companies. Atlantic Union has invested in fintech funds for several years and plans to strengthen its position in 2022. The relationships it has developed have helped it improve its digital banking offerings and could help it identify other opportunities, according to Asbury.
“The rise of fintech is critically important to the future of this business,” the CEO said.
In a conference call with analysts last week, Asbury said he was also continuing to assess mergers and acquisitions opportunities, but added that he would prefer to focus on short-term internal projects and push back. examination of the agreement in the second half of 2022.
“We don’t always have the ability to control the timing, but I would really like to see us through the winter,” Asbury said. “We are always busy inside the company.”
Prior to joining Atlantic Union, Tedesco spent two years as Chief Operating Officer for Retail at BMO Harris Bank in Chicago. While the $167 billion subsidiary of Bank of Montreal is a much larger operation than Atlantic Union, Tedesco said the scope of its responsibilities is actually much broader now.
“I certainly wasn’t running the lines of business that I run now,” Tedesco said.