Renee Newman named new Chief Strategy Officer; Russ Lee becomes Chief Banking Officer

January 7th, 2020

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To help guide First Interstate further down a path of continued success, the bank is realigning its executive team to add a Chief Strategy Officer.

In this new role, Renee Newman will focus on First Interstate’s growth and innovation strategies, ensuring the bank is well positioned to meet the rapidly changing needs of our clients, wherever and however they bank. She has been instrumental in leading efforts to adopt greater strategic focus and alignment across business lines in her previous role of Chief Banking Officer. “For First Interstate to continue growing in a highly competitive environment, we must expand our strategic mindset and appoint a visionary individual to spearhead our efforts. Renee has impressed us with her client focus from day one with First Interstate,” said Kevin Riley, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Interstate BancSystem. “She is the natural choice for this new and critical role, established to ensure First Interstate remains a relevant financial partner to our clients and communities for years to come.”

Newman’s responsibilities include assessing the competitive financial services environment, implementing and executing strategic business initiatives, and measuring and reporting on performance and progress. She will lead the digital and product teams, data and analytics, as well as oversee marketing, communications, and the client contact center. Newman will also be responsible for the organization’s enterprise planning and project management efforts.

Newman joined First Interstate in October 2017 to lead Wealth Management and Client Experience; she has been the Chief Banking Officer since 2018. She contributes more than 25 years of diverse banking experience, spanning commercial, real estate, and wealth management across community, regional, and large financial institutions.

Russ Lee will assume the role of Chief Banking Officer. The consolidation of the traditional banking business under a single leader allows First Interstate to continue its growth as a premier community bank.

“Russ will be instrumental in expanding our traditional community banking focus, which includes retail and commercial banking, as well as wealth management,” Riley said. “He is a strong leader with a proven track record in managing and inspiring his teams, and has many years of experience leading successful community banks. I look forward to collaborating more closely with him as he takes on this new challenge.”

As Chief Banking Officer, Lee will lead the retail, commercial, and wealth teams. With more than 150 branches across a six-state footprint, a highly motivated commercial banking group, and a growing wealth management team, Lee will guide and support these client-facing teams in developing the strong and fruitful relationships for which First Interstate is known.

Lee, who joined First Interstate’s Executive Team in 2018 through the organization’s acquisition of Inland Northwest Bank, now becomes responsible for the branch network and wealth management. Lee has more than 40 years of community banking experience, including serving as President and CEO of INB, President of Skagit Bank, and President of Peoples Bank.