By AWE Staff
Karen Fukumara is a transformational leader with 25 years of work experience in global Fortune 500 companies, management consulting firms, and entrepreneurial ventures. She spent seven of the 25 years living and working in Asia. Currently, Karen is the Executive Vice President, Head of Change Execution at East West Bank, a $28.5 billion asset bank that is focused on providing cross-border financial services to customers in the U.S. and Greater China. She leads a team of professionals to deliver process improvement and change management services for the bank’s strategic initiatives. Karen’s team is enabling sustainable change across people, process, and technology, and is front and center in driving East West Bank’s digital banking strategy.
Karen initially joined East West Bank in April 2008 as Executive Vice President, Head of Retail Banking and played a significant leadership role during the global financial crisis. Managing the branches, operations, and IT teams, Karen delivered strategies that supported the bank’s stabilization and recovery. Her key accomplishments in this role include the successful post-merger integration of United Commercial Bank that formed the largest U.S. bank serving the Asian-American community, and the transformation of the Retail Bank’s sales and service model.
Prior to joining East West Bank, Karen was a Senior Vice President with Bank of America and held several transformational and turn-around leadership roles within the Consumer Bank and Service & Fulfillment Operations. Additionally, Karen has seven years of management and technology consulting experience in Asia, and previously held sales and manufacturing operations roles within Mobil Oil and Xerox Corporation, respectively.
Karen has provided leadership in the community through active participation in non-profit boards, such as Junior Achievement of the Bay Area, The San Francisco Zoo, and the Community College Foundation. Besides these non-profit board roles, Karen has led United Way annual giving campaigns at her bank, as well as rode two 100-mile bike fundraisers for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In 2013, Gum Moon and the Asian Women’s Resource Center honored Karen with their Outstanding Asian Woman Award for her achievements and dedication to serving the local community.
Karen has a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School, a Master of Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. On a personal front, Karen enjoys participating in sports and traveling through developing countries.