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105-Year-Old Institution Run By "Family" Man

CEO of the Year finalist, Mariner Kemper embraces challenges


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Some executives might lose their cool when tasked with leading a financial services company through one of the worst financial crises in history. Not Mariner Kemper. UMB Bank’s chairman and CEO has embraced the challenge since 2005, when the then-32-year-old took the reins of an entity he’s grown to more than 3,500 employees and $20 billion in total assets.

When asked about his role models, Kemper flips the script. He learns more from others’ mistakes than their accomplishments.

“Do what’s right, not what’s popular,” Kemper says. UMB was one of the few U.S. banks that declined to accept money from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Under Kemper’s auspices, the 105-year-old institution maneuvered clients – and itself – through troubled waters, posting positive earnings along the way.

Kemper’s a busy man, but he still takes time to connect with employees, viewing UMB Bank as “a family,” he says, taking pride in the company’s “close-knit corporate culture.” Kemper supports the arts, agriculture and young adult communities with donations, fundraising efforts and time. Currently he’s a trustee and executive committee member for Denver Art Museum, and he sat on the board of the Denver Public Schools Foundation, among others.

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Jamie Siebrase

Jamie Siebrase is a freelance writer based in Colorado.

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