Ron Scott, who had announced his resignation from the positions of president and CEO of Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) earlier this week, was found dead Friday morning. Scott had previously announced he would be leaving the credit union in March to spend more time with his family.
“The credit union learned early today of Ron’s passing and has shared this information with ACFCU staff,” ACFCU said in a midday Friday release. “Scott joined the credit union in 2010. His last day was Jan. 4.”
In a statement that had been issued Thursday, ACFCU Chairman Royden Russell had acknowledged Scott’s departure from the company, as well as the recent departures of two other members of ACFCU’s leadership team, but stated, “I can reassure you that ours is a stable and strong financial institution. I simply wanted to make you aware of these changes and emphasize that your level of service will not change.”
ACFCU Director of Communications and Community Relations Jeff Keeling confirmed the departure of the two executives Friday but declined to identify them by name or position. Keeling also would not confirm reports that regulators from the National Credit Union Administration have been in the ACFCU offices this week, saying only, “Financial institutions are visited by regulators on an ongoing basis and when those visits occur it is credit union policy not to comment on anything, or to even comment on whether they are occurring. All financial institutions are highly regulated. Those sorts of visits are regular and not uncommon.”
When asked if Scott’s departure from the credit union was an indication the board was interested in changing the company’s direction, Keeling said, “There is so much to deal with right now, in the wake of a resignation and the shock now of Ron’s death that what changes in direction might occur at the credit union, I can’t say. I don’t know of any plans to change the basic foundations of ACFCU’s approach. I do know we are operating from a strong basis of financial performance.”
ACFCU had grown significantly during Scott’s tenure. In the 2012 Business Journal Book of Lists, ACFCU’s assets were listed at $152 million. In 2018, that figure was $221 million. “He also led our transformation to a community development-based approach,” Keeling said, noting the credit union’s emphasis on serving underserved individuals and businesses.
“I worked with him directly for more than two years,” Keeling said. “Ron was a big personality. He was passionate about – the underserved doesn’t even cover it – about people, and when people didn’t have opportunity, he saw that as an opportunity for him and his spirit and his vision to try and address that. That vision is what the credit union has built a large part of its foundation on as what’s called a community development financial institution.”
Kelly Smith has been named interim president and CEO.