Penn State trustees: Karen Peetz to step aside as board chairwoman

Cites new role as president of major New York bank

cminemyer@centredaily.comDecember 18, 2012 

— Penn State board of trustees Chairwoman Karen Peetz said Tuesday she will not seek re-election to that position when the board reorganizes in January.

Bank of New York Mellon last week announced that Peetz had been named company president effective Jan. 1. She pointed to her duties with the bank as the reason she will not stay on as chairwoman of the Penn State trustees.

“At all times, and particularly now, our university needs a chairman with the ability to commit virtually unlimited time and energy to guiding this great institution to its promising future,” she said in a statement. “The new, significantly broader responsibilities I am assuming at BNY Mellon preclude me from dedicating myself fully to Penn State right now.”

Peetz’s decision was announced Tuesday evening. She has been on the board since 2010 and chairwoman since January. She does plan to remain on the board at least through the end of her term, which expires in 2013.

During her time as chairman, Peetz led the board through a turbulent period following the arrest of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky for child sexual abuse and later the Freeh report, which implicated top university officials in a cover-up of the abuse, and historic NCAA sanctions levied against the university as a result.

“While on the board, and especially during her tenure as chairman, Karen faced the toughest of challenges and led the board to make the right choices for the future of Penn State,” said fellow board member James Broadhurst. “Karen’s leadership as chairman will be missed, but we are all pleased she will continue to serve on the board.”

Trustees Vice Chairman Keith Masser said he will seek the opportunity to become chairman of the Penn State board.

“The Penn State board possesses many very capable leaders, and I am gratified our vice chairman Keith Masser has indicated his interest and willingness to stand for election as chairman,” Peetz said.

Officers of the board are elected for a one-year term each January and typically serve two or three terms, university officials said. The election of a new chairman will take place at the Jan. 18 board meeting.

Peetz, a 1977 graduate of Penn State, is BNY Mellon’s vice chairwoman and CEO of financial markets and treasury services. She joined the bank in 1998 and previously was with JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Peetz was elected as a representative of business and industry.

She was named chairwoman in January, replacing Steve Garban, who has since stepped down from the board altogether.

Peetz has a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State and a master’s from Johns Hopkins.

Masser replaced John Surma as vice chairman, also in January.

Masser is chairman and CEO of Sterman Masser Inc., a family-owned potato farming company in the Pennsylvania Dutch region of the Hegins and Lykens valleys. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering from Penn State.

He was elected to the board in 2008 as a representative of agricultural interests, and then re-elected to a second three-year term in 2011.

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