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Let’s hope Koelmel remains in the area

I am writing with concern that Western New York may lose a passionate advocate if John Koelmel leaves this region as a result of his departure as chief executive officer of First Niagara Financial Group. Under his leadership, First Niagara Bank rose to the top as one of the leading 25 banks in the country.

Koelmel donates his time as chairman of the New York Power Authority board. He is a member of the Western New York Economic Development Council and chairman of the board of directors of Kaleida Health. He is a member of the Great Lakes Medical Board and has been an inspiration and motivating force in the development of the medical corridor. Additionally, he has devoted many hours and personal attention to local charities and is well-regarded by this community.

It is worth noting and understanding the fact that during Koelmel’s tenure at First Niagara, his decisions were approved by a board consisting of a majority of individuals living outside the area. These same individuals, who have placed accountability on him for the present positioning of the bank’s stock, will eventually take credit for its future successes.

My biggest fear is that our region will lose the talents and ideas of a man who truly loves this area and wishes nothing more than to see it continue to grow and prosper.

Joseph A. DeVincentis, D.P.M.

Orchard Park