FirstBank Announces New CEO and COO 

Former CEO announces his retirement from the bank after a 37-year tenure

Left to Right: Kevin Classen, Emily Robinson and Jim Reute

FirstBank, one of the largest privately held banks in the nation with a focus on “banking for good,” announced that Jim Reuter is retiring from FirstBank after seven years as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and 37 years with the organization. The board elected President Kevin Classen as the new CEO, and Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Kelly Kaminskas, was named Chief Operating Officer (COO). Their appointments will be effective March 29, 2024.
Reuter, who will remain on the company’s board, started his career at FirstBank in 1987 and held several leadership positions, including COO and Executive Vice President, before being appointed CEO in 2017. He led FirstBank to become nationally recognized for its customer service, digital banking, and financial performance.
“It’s been a pleasure to be CEO of FirstBank and an active leader in the community, banking, and fintech industry,” said Reuter. “Since I became CEO in 2017, I’ve always said this was a role I would do for 5-7 years before allowing the next generation of leaders. My proudest accomplishment has been building this team. Now it’s their time to shine. I know with Kevin Classen and Kelly Kaminskas at the helm, FirstBank will continue to be a top-performing institution. As for me, I’m looking forward to pursuing other interests and taking on new challenges.”
Classen, who has been with FirstBank since 1998, previously served in leadership roles throughout the organization and helped lead the company’s expansion into Arizona from 2007 to 2016 as the Phoenix Market President. He was also named Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2015 for his community and professional achievements. Kevin went on to become President of FirstBank in 2020.
“I’m honored to be named CEO and to continue to build on FirstBank’s 60-plus years of success,” said Classen. “I owe a great deal to Jim for creating a company foundation and a culture that truly prioritizes its mission. I’m also grateful to have several tenacious, perceptive, and brilliant leaders by my side like Kelly Kaminskas, who are integral to the growth of this company.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Kevin and Kelly for many years,” said Joel Johnson, East Valley Market President for FirstBank. “Their appointment is well-deserved, and I’m confident that together, they will continue to help grow our impact in Arizona and beyond.”
Kaminskas started her career at FirstBank 20 years ago. She served as Executive Vice President in Phoenix before becoming President of Retail and Digital Banking and eventually CDO in 2022. As the newly elected COO, Kelly will lead the company’s treasury management, marketing, technology, and retail operations.
As of Dec. 31, 2023, FirstBank reported $28.2 billion in total assets. The company was identified as one of the nation’s “10 Top-Performing Banks” by a 2023 American Banker study and is ranked as one of the most philanthropic companies in Arizona and Colorado. FirstBank is the Official Bank of the Phoenix Suns and helped to launch the Empowerment Awards recognizing minority-owned businesses. Since partnering with the Phoenix Suns and Mercury in 2019, FirstBank has contributed over $130,000 to the local community through donations to nonprofit organizations and small business grants.

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