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Bankers Trust announces succession; executive Paul Erickson to retire, Emily Abbas promoted


Bankers Trust Co. CEO Don Coffin today announced that Chief Retail Officer Paul Erickson will retire and be succeeded by current Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and Chief of Staff Emily Abbas. 

“Part of my job is to strive for certainty in uncertain times and ensure that long after a crisis is past, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, our company remains strong,” Coffin said in a release.  

Erickson will be retiring at the end of this year after 42 years at the bank. He provides leadership to the consumer services, residential real estate, private banking, financial services and facilities teams. Erickson went to Iowa State University where he earned a degree in Education and did his student teaching in a Talented and Gifted program. 

The story, as Erickson tells it, is that when he realized the students were smarter than him, he added a minor in business and upon graduating applied at Bankers Trust, where in 1978 he was hired as a management trainee. Erickson was a leader through many changes and challenging times for the industry. As part of Iowa’s largest independent bank, Coffin noted Erickson said he’s most proud of “the Bank’s unwavering dedication to service — service to our customers and service in our communities.” 

Emily Abbas is being promoted into Erickson’s position after a four-month transition where she will lead more than 200 employees who make up the company’s consumer services, residential real estate, private banking and financial services teams, in addition to her current leadership roles as chief marketing and communications officer and chief of staff. Her new title will be chief retail banking and marketing officer. 

“This is an example of having a leader who has the right skills at the right time,” Coffin said of Abbas. “Never before in our company’s history has there been the speed of change and the absolute need for innovative strategies, digital expertise, data analytics, and a bold and decisive approach that will help continue our growth and exceptional service.” 

Abbas has more than 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry and serves on many community boards and committees. Community involvement highlights include United Way of Central Iowa, MercyOne Medical Center, Drake University, Downtown Community Alliance, Greater Des Moines Partnership Communications Board, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, and Better Business Bureau. Last year, Abbas was voted the Business Record’s Most Influential Forty Under 40 for the 2005 class and she was also named a Business Record Emerging Woman of Influence in 2016. 

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