Carelli to replace Schmidt as Citizens N.H. president

Joe Carelli, executive vice president of commercial banking at Citizens Bank, has been named president of the bank’s New Hampshire and Vermont operations, succeeding Cathy Schmidt, who is stepping down from the job after more than five years.The bank announced the appointment Thursday.Since taking over at Citizens in 2006, Schmidt has been a familiar face on the New Hampshire banking scene, well known for her work with the state’s nonprofit community in particular. She was recently named chair of the Granite United Way campaign — a job she said will “keep me very busy” in the coming year. She also said she’ll be helping to oversee completion of a “very successful” fund-raising campaign for the New Hampshire Food Bank. Schmidt is co-chair of the effort.Schmidt, who has been in banking for some 30 years, joined Citizens in July 2002 as executive vice president and director of retail banking in Massachusetts before moving to take over New Hampshire operations. Under Schmidt, Citizens has expanded both its profile and footprint in New Hampshire as well as the rest of northern New England.She said it was her decision to move on from Citizens. “I’ve been her for 5 1/2 years, and I have this awesome team in place, so I decided it was a good time.”A Bedford resident, Schmidt said she will continue to live in New Hampshire, although travel is on her agenda, at least for the immediate future — she’s already planning to take a trip with her nephew to Spain, she said.”I have had the opportunity to work with an extraordinary group of colleagues at Citizens Bank,” said Schmidt. “It has been a privilege to work with them and build on Citizens’ growth and success in New Hampshire and Vermont.”A Hollis resident since 1995, Carelli is another 30-year industry veteran. He has been working for Citizens since 1992, with a focus on commercial banking. He was named Citizens’ commercial banking director in 2004, before being named executive vice president of commercial banking for New England. In fact, even as state president, Carelli will retain his commercial banking management responsibilities within New England.”I’ve held a lot of roles here at Citizens, and I would say this would be kind of a lifelong ambition,” said Carelli.In his new job, Carelli will be overseeing complete banking operations in New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as what he called a “very formidable” commercial lending operation in Portland, Maine. But with the largest share of the bank’s northern New England assets in New Hampshire — some $6.5 billion — he expects to be spending much of his time in the Granite State.He said he has “some big shoes to fill” in replacing Schmidt. “I’m not nearly as well known on the retail side as Cathy is, but my goal is to be very visible because I want to continue to grow that business,” which still represents the largest share of the bank’s operations in New Hampshire.Both Carelli and Schmidt said they’ve already begun working on “a really smooth transition,” with Carelli taking over full time sometime in June.But Carelli said he still expects to remain in contact with Schmidt, seeking guidance when necessary. “Cathy and I have worked hand in hand for the last 5 1/2,” he said. “I am sure I will have many opportunities where I will seek out her advice.” — JEFF FEINGOLD/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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