Business & Lobbying

Credit Union group hires new CEO

One of K Street’s top jobs has been
filled — and an ex-member of Congress did not get it.

The Credit Union National Association hired William Cheney to replace Dan Mica, a former member of
Congress, as president and CEO, a signal CUNA’s board favored industry
knowledge over Capitol Hill experience.


Cheney is currently president and CEO
of the California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues. While he has relationships with
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.), he has not worked on Capitol Hill.


CUNA said it considered a number of potential candidates. The Credit Union Times reported the list included retiring Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), the chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee. A CUNA spokesman said the association would not comment on other candidates for the position.

Cheney has been the president of the
California/Nevada Leagues since 2006 and will take over the national
association on July 5.


Details of Cheney’s compensation
package were not released. But Mica was among the best-paid trade association
heads. He earned $1.8 million in total compensation in 2008, according to
tax records.


“I am honored that the CUNA board has
the confidence in me as their selection for this position, given the very
extensive search that was conducted by the committee,” Cheney said in a


CUNA spokesman Patrick O’Keefe said
Capitol Hill access was a critical decision in Mica’s hiring in 1996.

Back then, credit unions were trying to change a
law after a U.S. Supreme Court decision limited credit union eligibility.


“At the time, our emphasis was on
Capitol Hill clout,” O’Keefe said. “This is a different time.”


The board was looking for someone
with a background in the industry, he said.


But O’Keefe also said CUNA was not
pulling back on its lobbying operations and noted Cheney’s relationship with
Democratic leaders and the large California delegation in Congress as a factor
in his hiring.

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