In April, Poelker had been named interim CEO and president after the troubled bank's top executives were fired as Certus battled rising losses and shareholder questions over expenses.
“The transition in the management of our company over the last few months has gone very smoothly, and our board and our teammates have greatly appreciated John’s leadership and guidance throughout the process,” Douglas Johnson, a member of CertusHoldings' board of directors, said in a statement.
“His appointment as the leader of CertusBank marks an important point in our company’s path forward. We are making steady progress in addressing CertusBank’s structural and financial challenges and are delighted to formalize and expand John’s role.”
CertusHoldings is the parent company of CertusBank.
The fired executives -- Walter Davis, Milton Jones and Angela Webb, all of whom are black -- were ousted after shareholders expressed worries about what they perceived as exorbitant expenses for a bank that posted large losses each quarter.
The three sued the bank in April, alleging a hedge fund manager sought to defame them with racist comments and convinced a majority of the bank's board members to fire them. Certus maintains that it lost confidence in the executives' ability to effectively manage the bank's operations and that the firings had nothing to do with race.
Also Wednesday, the bank said shareholders re-elected five CertusHoldings board members and elected six new members during the company's annual meeting last week in New York.
The new board members:
- Bruce Campbell, principal of ALCO Partners
- Howard Hoffmann, managing partner of De Novo Perspectives
- Andrew Jones, founder of North Star Partners
- Nooruddin "Rudy" Karsan, general manager of IBM Kenexa Smarter Workforce
- Bradford Kopp, a financial services industry adviser
- L. Spencer Wells, partner at Drivetrain
Poelker has other experience in the banking industry, according to Certus. He has served as chief financial officer of Atlanta-based State Bank Financial Corp. and CEO of Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based Beach First National Bank, among other roles in the industry.