M&T Bank continues to dominate local deposit market share and has grown far beyond its hometown through acquisitions. Here is a look at some of the leaders who anchor M&T's operations at its Buffalo headquarters:
Robert G. Wilmers
Title: Chairman and chief executive officer
The guiding force at M&T, Wilmers is a respected industry and community leader. He has overseen steady growth at the bank far beyond its Buffalo roots, most recently through the acquisition of New Jersey-based Hudson City Bancorp. When Wilmers arrived in 1983, M&T had assets of $2 billion; today, that figure is $124 billion. Wilmers is also known for his philanthropic efforts and pushing for improvements in Buffalo’s public school system. He has called for federal regulators to treat “Main Street” banks such as M&T differently from Wall Street banks. In the early 1980s, Wilmers launched M&T's Management Development Program, which has created a pipeline of young managers at the bank.
Mark J. Czarnecki
Title: President and chief operating officer
The No. 2 executive at M&T, Czarnecki reflects M&T’s tradition of grooming its own leaders: The Buffalo native started out as a branch manager and kept climbing the ranks. He was named president in 2007 and added the duties of chief operating officer in January 2014, taking on more responsibility for day-to-day management of the company. In August 2015, M&T disclosed Czarnecki was being treated for cancer in his pancreas, but that he planned to remain in his role at M&T.
Rene F. Jones
Title: Vice chairman
Jones served as chief financial officer for 11 years, which made him a widely recognized leader at M&T, before he was promoted last May. He now manages the bank’s treasury division, along with its mortgage and consumer lending businesses. Jones also has overall responsibility for Wilmington Trust, the bank’s wealth and institutional trust subsidiary. He joined M&T through its Executive Associate program, which the bank launched in the 1980s to recruit MBAs.
Darren J. King
Title: Chief financial officer
The Sarnia, Ont., native moved up to chief financial officer last May, after Rene Jones was promoted to vice chairman. King has a highly visible position at the bank, speaking at conferences and answering analysts’ questions about M&T’s strategy. King held a variety of management roles at M&T before becoming CFO. He also draws on his experience in strategic thinking from his work in consulting before he made the leap into banking.
Richard S. Gold
Title: Chief risk officer
Gold was named chief risk officer in 2014, following the retirement of his predecessor. He has helped M&T take steps to strengthen its compliance and anti-money laundering/Bank Secrecy Act infrastructure – a vital issue for M&T, as the bank has worked to satisfy federal regulators’ concerns about those programs. Gold has held a number of managerial positions at M&T, in retail banking, consumer lending and mortgage and business banking. Like Jones, Gold joined M&T through its Executive Associate program.
Kevin J. Pearson
Title: Vice chairman
Pearson oversees the bank’s commercial businesses and credit division. During his career at M&T, he has served as president of its Philadelphia region, head of commercial lending in its Tarrytown, N.Y., region. His first role at M&T was with its private banking division in New York City. Pearson is one of 15 members of M&T’s management committee, which meets weekly to set the bank’s direction.