Great Western CEO to retire

Nov. 26, 2019

Ken Karels, CEO of Sioux Falls-based Great Western Bancorp Inc., plans to retire next year.

He has served as CEO since 2010 and as board chair since 2017. He began his banking career more than 43 years ago and has spent 17 years with Great Western.

His intent is to retire Oct. 2, 2020, and continue to serve as chairperson, president and CEO until a successor is appointed or his retirement date, he said in a statement.

“It has been an honor to have led Great Western. After over four decades in banking and almost a decade as the CEO of Great Western, I believe 2020 is the right time to retire,” he said. “I look forward to transitioning the helm to the new CEO when identified and acting as an adviser to Great Western after retiring. I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity and privilege it has been to work with so many talented and dedicated colleagues at Great Western.”

Karels has been “a solid leader for the company,” according to Thomas Henning, lead independent director of the board. Karels has navigated it through its initial public offering five years ago and helped grow assets from $5.2 billion in 2009 to more than $12.7 billion a decade later.

“He has a deep understanding of the markets, and his disciplined approach to running the bank has resulted in the significant success we experienced under his leadership,” Henning said.

Great Western has more than 170 branches in nine states.

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Great Western CEO to retire

Ken Karels, CEO of Sioux Falls-based Great Western Bancorp, Inc., plans to retire next year.

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