Elissa McCarter LaBorde as Next President and CEO of WOCCU / Brian Branch Announces Retirement
IRU welcomes Ms Elissa McCarter LaBorde as next President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Council of Credit Unions. For IRU, it is a great honour to congratulate Ms LaBorde on her new position and we wish her all success in executing the new and demanding tasks. Ms LaBorde brings more than 20 years of experience leading organizations in delivering financial services to underserved communities across the globe.
Since 2009, Ms LaBorde has served as Chief Executive Officer of Vitas Group, a for-profit holding company she established under Global Communities, an international development and humanitarian aid organization that operates in 27 countries. Vitas Group has become the largest commercial retail microfinance operation in the Middle East. Over the last decade, its subsidiaries have disbursed over $3 billion dollars at a less than 1% annual default rate to small business owners. Vitas employs over 1,300 local professional staff in Romania, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and Egypt, with a dedicated IT Hub in Serbia.
Ms LaBorde follows Mr Brian Branch who announced his retirement after a three-decade career with the global credit union organisation. IRU congratulates Mr Branch on the happy and well-deserved day of retirement as one of the longest serving presidents and CEOs at the World Council of Credit Unions! We applaud for more than 30 years of service and remarkable achievements at WOCCU. However, we perceive this news with one happy and one crying eye as Mr Branch’s retirement also marks the end of an era at WOCCU.
During his career with World Council, Branch traveled to and worked in 104 countries, developing programs to start credit unions, conduct management training, expand outreach, build networks, improve regulatory environments and introduce technological innovations. As one of many big achievements, Mr Branch established the Global Women’s Leadership Network as a peer-based professional network for women in the global credit union network and, most recently, established Challenge 2025—a World Council initiative with a goal to digitize the global credit union system by 2025.
Dear Mr Branch, it has always been our great pleasure to cooperate with you. So, while we are saddened to see you go at WOCCU, we hope that you continue being a strong advocate of the cooperative Raiffeisen Movement worldwide.
We wish you all the best for your future endeavours as retirement surely offers many new opportunities!