– USA, CA – Hope Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOPE), the holding company of Bank of Hope, today announced a changing of the guard as Steven S. Koh passes on his responsibilities as Chairman of the Board of the Company and the Bank to Scott Yoon-Suk Whang, effective immediately.
Mr. Koh will continue to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Company and Bank. In recognition of his 31 years of service on the Board, including the former Wilshire Bancorp and Wilshire Bank, during the last 24 years of which he served as Chairman, Mr. Koh will be distinguished as Honorary Chairman of the Board.
“It has been such an honor and personally gratifying experience for me to have been part of the creation of the only super regional Korean-American bank in the United States and to have served as its inaugural Chairman,” said Mr. Koh. “With the physical integration successfully completed and our focus on sustainable growth, I believe now is the opportune time for me to open the way for my peers to step up in their leadership contributions. The key to our success has been the Board’s ability to work together in unison as one body. Chairman Whang has been instrumental in now two successful mergers of equals, and I have great confidence that he has the strategic perspective to lead our board through our next phase of growth.”
“Chairman Koh has certainly been an integral member of our Board since the merger, and on behalf of all of my colleagues, I applaud his inspirational leadership during our first year as the representative bank of the Korean-American community and respect his decision to voluntarily step down from the Chairman position,” said Mr. Whang. “I am excited to play an expanded role in the growth of Bank of Hope, and I thank Chairman Koh and my colleagues for their trust and confidence in my leadership.”
Mr. Whang, age 71, has been a director of Hope Bancorp, Inc. and Bank of Hope, formerly known as BBCN Bancorp and BBCN Bank, since 2007 and served as the Lead Independent Director since the merger of BBCN and Wilshire. Mr. Whang previously served in the capacities of Vice Chairman of the Company from May 2012 through June 2014 and Lead Independent Director from March 2013 to June 2014. He is an accomplished entrepreneur having established three successful companies over the past 20 years. Most recently, Mr. Whang served as President and CEO of Orange Circle Studios, a premier gift stationery and calendar publishing company that he founded in 2008. Mr. Whang founded Codra Enterprises in 1985, which provides new product development and manufacturing outsourcing services to the gift and stationery industry, and served as its Chairman until December 2007. From 1990 to 2006, he was the founder and CEO of Avalanche Publishing, Inc., one of the leading publishers of various gift and stationery products whose customers included big national retail channels such as Barnes & Noble and Borders Group, as well as office chain stores and specialty gift retailers. In 2006, Mr. Whang was chosen as entrepreneur of the year by the Korean American Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his success in the mainstream publishing industry and as an exemplary minority entrepreneur. Mr. Whang began his career in the early 1970s holding various management positions with Daewoo Corporation, before he resigned from the position as President of the western division of Daewoo International (USA) in 1985. Mr. Whang graduated from the College of Business Administration at Seoul National University with a B.A. in International Economy.
Mr. Koh, age 71, was appointed Chairman of the board of directors of Hope Bancorp, Inc. and Bank of Hope upon the merger of equals between BBCN Bancorp, Inc. and Wilshire Bancorp, Inc. and their respective subsidiaries BBCN Bank and Wilshire Bank effective July 29, 2016. Previously, he served as a director of Wilshire Bank since 1986 and as Chairman since 1993. Mr. Koh also served as Chairman of the board of directors of Wilshire Bancorp, Inc. since its formation in December 2003 through the merger with BBCN. Mr. Koh is the Chairman of Pacific Steel Corporation, an international steel trading and nationwide distributing company that he founded in 1973. In addition to being well recognized for his contributions to the Bank since 1986, Mr. Koh is highly regarded for his active involvement in community affairs, including the Overseas Korean Traders Association (OKTA) and numerous philanthropic activities for the Korean-American and surrounding ethnic communities. He is the first and only Korean American to serve on the board of directors of Cedars-Sinai, a position he was appointed to in 2016. Mr. Koh received his B.A. and honorary Ph.D. from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. He also completed the Executive Management Program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the graduate business school at the University of California, Los Angeles.
About Hope Bancorp, Inc.
Hope Bancorp, Inc. is the holding company of Bank of Hope, the first and only super regional Korean-American bank in the United States with $13.5 billion in total assets as of March 31, 2017. Formed through the merger of BBCN Bank and Wilshire Bank, the top two commercial lenders in the market, Bank of Hope is headquartered in Los Angeles and serves a multi-ethnic population of customers across the nation. Bank of Hope operates 64 full-service branches in California, Washington, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama. The Bank also operates SBA loan production offices in Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, and Portland, Oregon; a commercial loan production office in Fremont, California; residential mortgage loan production offices in California; and a representative office in Seoul, Korea. Bank of Hope specializes in core business banking products for small and medium-sized businesses, with an emphasis in commercial real estate and commercial lending, SBA lending and international trade financing. Bank of Hope is a California-chartered bank, and its deposits are insured by the FDIC to the extent provided by law. Bank of Hope is an Equal Opportunity Lender.
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