California’s Central Valley promotes COO to CEO

Central Valley Community Bancorp has promoted Chief Operating Officer James Kim to succeed retiring CEO James Ford.

Ford has been CEO of Central Valley, the holding company for the $2.3 billion-asset Central Valley Community Bank, since February 2015. Ford was named president of Central Valley Bank in February 2014.

Daniel Doyle, Central Valley’s chairman, called Kim “an experienced leader with proven success in the financial services sector,” in a press release Monday. “James is highly regarded by our Company and an exceptional choice to be our next President and CEO.”

Kim, who will serve also as president and CEO of Central Valley Community Bank, joined Central Valley in January 2018 after 10 years at Auburn, California-based Community 1st Bancorp, including three years as CEO, from May 2014 to November 2017. As CEO, Kim presided over the $50 million sale of Community 1st to First Foundation, which closed in November 2017.

James Kim (pictured) will succeed James Ford as CEO of Central Valley Community Bancorp. Kim has been the bank’s chief operating officer since 2019.

Kelly Petersen

The 41-year-old Central Valley, which is based in Fresno, hired Kim as its chief administrative officer. It promoted him to chief operating officer in February 2019.

Ford announced his intent to step down in March, with plans to retire once a new CEO was in place. During Ford’s six-and-a-half years as chief executive, Central Valley saw both its total assets and tangible book value nearly double.

“I am proud to have served alongside so many talented executives and teammates whose commitment to our mission and core values is second to none,” Ford said in the press release.

In a research note Wednesday, Timothy Coffey, who covers Central Valley for Janney Montgomery Scott, called Kim the “best choice” to succeed Ford. “He is well-regarded and has prior experience as a CEO, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer.”

Kim is Central Valley Community’s fourth CEO following Kim, Doyle (who held the role from 1998 to 2015) and founder Donald Bruegman.

Central Valley reported net income of $15 million for the first six months of 2021, up 69% from the same period in 2020.

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