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Monday, December 6, 2021

Orange County Business Council appoints Whittier Banker as new CEO

Orange County’s leading business association has named a Whittier banker living in Huntington Beach as its new leader.

Jeffrey Ball, founder, president and CEO of Friendly Hills Bank in Whittier and former president of the California Bankers Association, received board approval on Thursday evening to become the next president and chief executive officer of the Orange County Business Council.

He replaces Lucy Dunn, 68, who is retiring at the end of the year after 16 years at the helm of the business council.

Ball, 57, has close ties to the banking world but has also been active in educational circles, co-founding Huntington Beach Charter Elementary School and serving in various positions with schools in Whittier, Irvine, and Huntington Beach. Ball also served on the Board of the Business Council between 2003–06 and is a current member of its Economic Forecasting Committee.

The five-member search committee spent three months searching for Dunn’s replacement, interviewing “a diverse cross-section of candidates,” the OCBC said in a statement.

The council’s board voted unanimously to approve Ball’s appointment.

“Finding an executive who can step into the CEO role and build on Lucy’s achievements and track record of effective leadership,” OCBC President Jenna Jensen said in a statement. “I am excited and excited to welcome Jeff to OCBC.”

Ball earned a master’s degree in business administration from Whittier College, before starting a career spanning nearly three decades in banking, working several executive positions with Bank America, focusing on commercial and investment banking. He served as president of the Sacramento-based California Bankers Association in 2013–14.

He co-founded Friendly Hills Bank in 2006 and served on its board in addition to his executive position. According to the FDIC website, the bank, which has sites in Whittier, Santa Fe Springs and Orange, had $223 million in assets as of June 30. This includes $180 million in deposits.

In addition, Ball serves on the boards of Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Western Bankers Association and technology-focused company Data Center Inc., the business council said. He is a member of the State Bar Association’s Legal Services Trust Fund Commission and the American Bankers Association’s Government Relations Administrative Committee.

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Ball co-founded Kinetic Academy, a K-6 charter school in Huntington Beach, and was on the Bond Oversight Committee of the Whittier Union High School District, an oversight board for Albert Einstein Academy in Huntington, the school site council for Brywood Elementary in Irvine Served in. Beach.

The Kinetic Academy website states that the school’s five founders “emphasize a common desire for choice in education, small class sizes, and providing as many different experiences as possible.”

“I have been fortunate to work with great professionals serving a variety of professions throughout my career, while advocating for the importance of the communities they serve,” Ball said in a statement.

Lucy Dunn, President and CEO of Orange County Business Council, at the organization’s 2020 Annual Dinner. (Photo courtesy of OCBC)

Dunn, 68, is retiring to spend more time with family, travel, and volunteer for her favorite nonprofit.

“I am thrilled that Jeff has decided to lead the OCBC and dedicate the next chapter of his career to advancing the economic growth and prosperity of Orange County,” Dunn said.

While Ball’s background is in banking, community service and education, Dunn’s career has been based in housing.

She was a legal advisor and a board member for the homebuilder Signal Landmark, later becoming the first female president of the Building Industry Association of Southern California. He also served as director of the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

To lure top businesses to Orange County, Dunn believed, it needed affordable housing, good schools, reliable transportation, and the arts.

Under Dunn, the business council has been involved in helping Orange County businesses navigate issues in the pandemic, encouraging the wearing of masks and vaccinations, and providing information about things like government grants to businesses.

“It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to lead the OCBC and to follow in the footsteps of the impressive contributions made by Lucy Dunn,” Ball said in a statement. “He has built on and expanded the Council’s leadership position as the voice of businesses in the region and Orange County in California on many important issues. I look forward to continuing that leadership as we look to the many opportunities and challenges of the next decade.” are facing.

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