News & Events
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, May 8, 2019 — Credit Union Leasing of America (CULA), the leader in providing indirect vehicle leasing programs for credit unions, today announced John R. Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, will retire effective June 7, 2019. CULA Chairman Ken Sopp will take over as CEO upon Thomas’s departure.
Thomas joined CULA as CEO in April 2015 and was instrumental in orchestrating CULA’s purchase by Westlake Financial Services (WFS), a member of the Hankey Group. During his tenure CULA achieved $1 billion in lease originations for the first time in 2017, followed by more than $1.2 billion in lease originations in 2018.
“John has guided the company through immense change since joining CULA. Chief among these was the purchase of CULA by Westlake Financial Services, which he helped the team navigate with skill and vision. Under John’s direction CULA has evolved into the market leader it is today,” said Sopp. “I’m grateful to John for his leadership and dedication in setting CULA on a path to success that will continue even in his absence.”
“It has been a privilege to build and lead this talented team and contribute to CULA’s progress over the last four years,” commented Thomas. “Ken’s experience in building successful companies and serving as CULA’s chairman will serve him well as he takes on the CEO role. In addition, CULA has a strong team of industry professionals in place that will carry the company forward. There’s so much potential for the company and I can’t wait to see where they take it.”
Sopp has served as CULA’s chairman since it was acquired by WFS in May 2017. He also leads Midway Leasing, another WFS organization. Prior to joining the Hankey Group, Sopp owned and operated new vehicle dealerships in the Los Angeles area. He currently serves on the board of the National Vehicle Leasing Association.
Credit Union Leasing of America (CULA) has been the leader in indirect vehicle leasing for credit unions for over 30 years. Founded in 1988, CULA provides best-in-class program assistance, analytics reporting, compliance support, dealer management tools and member services. The CULA indirect vehicle leasing program empowers credit union innovators to diversify their existing loan portfolios, improve yield and enhance member services. Visit www.cula.com to learn more.