Wilshire Bancorp Inc. announced late Friday that Jae Whan Yoo has been appointed chief executive and a director of the Koreatown bank holding company.
The surprising move comes just a month after Yoo was fired as chief executive of rival Center Financial Corp. At Wilshire, Yoo will replace Joanne Kim, who resigned Friday for undisclosed reasons.
“(Yoo) has consistently demonstrated an ability to navigate his banks through challenging times,” said Wilshire Chairman Steven Koh in a statement. “His experience and achievements as a CEO in our market is unparalleled, and we could not ask for a better executive to take our franchise to the next level.”
Yoo, who headed Center for four years, was fired shortly before Center completed its merger with Nara Bancorp Inc. He had been set to assume the position of president in the merged company, while the top spot was given to Nara Chief Executive Alvin Kang. Yoo was rumored to be unhappy with his role and negotiating to leave the institution when he was ousted.
Yoo had previously served as chief executive of Hanmi Financial Corp.