Charles V. Wait has stepped down as president of the Adirondack Trust Co.
In what was described as a transition from one generation of leadership to another, Stephan R. von Schenk on Wednesday was promoted to president of the 112-year-old bank and Wait’s son, Charles V. Wait Jr., was promoted to executive vice president, succeeding von Schenk.
The changes are effective immediately.
Wait, 62, who began his career with the Saratoga Springs-based bank as a teller in 1974 and became president in 1984, has been Adirondack Trust’s longest-serving president. He said Wednesday’s moves do not mean retirement for him; he will retain the titles of bank chairman and chief executive officer.
“I will certainly be involved on a daily basis with the bank as chief executive officer,” he said. “I’ll still have routine responsibilities, but much of the day-to-day administrative tasks will be taken over by Mr. von Schenk.”
Von Schenk, who joined Adirondack Trust in 2004, has 30 years’ experience in community banking and commercial lending. Charles V. Wait Jr. has been with Adirondack Trust since 2009, joining the company as vice president of legal and regulatory affairs.
“It’s a nice, easy glide path transition from one generation of leadership to another,” the elder Wait said. “That’s the way I would describe it. I will be stepping back from the day-to-day operational issues of the bank but still retaining a strong interest in this institution that I’ve been president of for 30 years.”
He added: “I still have an office here and an assistant and I’ll still answer my phone if people call.”
Wait has long been active in the banking industry and Saratoga Springs community. He served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for nine years and is currently a director of the New York Bankers Association and the New York Racing Association. In 2013, he was chairman of the Saratoga 150 Committee, which organized the sesquicentennial celebration of Saratoga Race Course.
Wait is proud of his career at Adirondack Trust. He said there have been only five presidents in the bank’s history — including his father, Newman E. “Pete” Wait Jr., who died in 1983. The first Wait to lead the bank was Newman E. Wait Sr., president from 1937 to 1964.
“I think it’s time,” he said. “Banking is changing rapidly. You need to have fresh minds, fresh approaches, you need to have a lot of energy. It’s not that I don’t — I’m a pretty energetic guy. Still, it’s time to let the next generation of leadership begin to assert themselves and make decisions, and the only way you do that is to give them responsibility.”
Wait said he has seen many changes in the banking business since 1974.
“When I first came to the bank we used IBM typewriters,” he said. “That’s how old I am. And we didn’t have a computer. I used to buy the calculators for the teller line. Of course, none of those things exist anymore.”
Wait also said Adirondack Trust had two offices, 40 employees and $60 million in assets when he worked his first shift.
“Now we’re $1 billion in assets, 12 offices and 250 employees, and we’re in two different businesses that we weren’t in before,” he said. “We didn’t have a trust department and we didn’t have an insurance division.”
Wait said it was important for him to ensure that a family connection remain with the bank’s new leadership.
“This has been a closely held bank for 112 years and we want to keep it a closely held community bank for the next 112, if we can,” he said.