Waterstone Financial, Inc. has announced that Douglas S. Gordon has notified Waterstone of his intention to retire as chief executive officer of Waterstone Financial, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, WaterStone Bank, effective December 31, 2023. Gordon will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of the company and the bank. He will also continue his service on the Board of Directors of Waterstone Mortgage, a wholly owned subsidiary of the bank.
The Board of Directors of the company and the bank also announced the election of William F. Bruss to serve as the next CEO of the company and the bank effective January 1, 2024. Bruss currently serves as the president of the company and the bank.
“As I retire from my position as CEO of this esteemed financial institution, I am filled with a sense of gratitude and accomplishment,” said Gordon. “Over the years, we have grown and expanded our operations, while remaining committed to our values of integrity, customer service, and community involvement. It has been an honor to lead such a dedicated and talented team, and I am proud of all that we have achieved together. As I move on to my Board position, I am confident that with Bill and his team, Waterstone is in good hands; and will continue to thrive and serve the financial needs of our customers.”
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and our shareholders, I would like to thank Doug for his years of loyal service and leadership to this organization,” said Pat Lawton, chairman of the Board. “During his tenure, Doug led us through a successful conversion to a publicly held institution, enabling the bank to grow from $1.4 billion to over $2.2 billion in assets and grow a mortgage banking operation that has achieved in excess of $4 billion in annual mortgage originations. Most importantly, Doug has attracted and retained an outstanding group of leaders and staff that are dedicated to our mission.”
“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to lead Waterstone,” said Bruss. “I appreciate the confidence that Doug and the Board have shown in me. I am excited to continue our legacy of banking and supporting the communities we serve and look forward to working with our talented and dedicated Waterstone family, as we build upon the strong foundation and culture at both WaterStone Bank and Waterstone Mortgage and continue to implement our strategic plans.”
Lawton said that the Board has planned for this transition for several years and that his breadth of experience at the company, along with the leadership that he has demonstrated over the years, made Bruss the ideal successor to Gordon. “Bill has served in a variety of leadership positions with the company and is highly respected within the organization,” said Lawton. “We are proud of what the company has accomplished and are optimistic that the future will be even better.”
Bruss, who has been an employee of the bank since 1997 and an executive officer of the company since 2005, will continue to serve in the position of president of the company and the bank through December 31, 2023. He has served in a variety of executive positions within the company and the bank over his tenure with the organization, including president of the company and the bank (January 2022–Present); executive vice president of the company and the bank (2015–2021); chief operating officer (2013–2022); and general counsel and secretary (2005–Present). Bruss holds a Bachelor of Arts from St. Olaf College, and a Juris Doctor from Marquette University.