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BOSTON — Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc., the parent company of Berkshire Bank, announced that the joint board of directors of the company and the bank has appointed Nitin Mhatre as president and CEO of the company and CEO of the bank, effective Jan. 29. Mhatre will also serve as a member of the board. Sean Gray, who has served as acting CEO since Aug. 10, has been and will continue to be president and chief operating officer of the bank.

Naming Mhatre as CEO is the conclusion of a comprehensive, national search process conducted by the board with the guidance of Spencer Stuart as its executive search consulting firm, following the resignation of its previous CEO. The board is confident that Mhatre is the ideal hire to propel the long-term strategic success of Berkshire, while recognizing the transformation of the banking industry in the 21st century with changing customer expectations and demands of the digital revolution.

Mhatre is a senior banking executive with 25 years of community and global banking experience. Most recently, as executive vice president, Community Banking at Webster Bank, he was a member of Webster’s executive team and led its consumer and business banking businesses. In this role, he was responsible for profitable growth of the Community Banking segment at the $31 billion bank and led a diverse team of more than 1,500 employees. Previously, he spent more than 13 years at Citi Group in various leadership roles across consumer-related businesses globally. Mhatre served on the board of the Consumer Bankers Assoc., headquartered in Washington, D.C., since 2014 and was chairman of the board from 2019 to 2020. He also serves on the board of Junior Achievement of Southwest New England, headquartered in Hartford, Conn.

“Nitin is a forward-thinking leader who is passionate about community banking and is committed to our mission to serve our customers and local communities with a values-based purpose,” said Bill Dunlaevy, board chair of the company and the bank. “He brings to Berkshire a proven record of building a customer-centric culture, developing and delivering on transformational strategic plans and performance-driven results.”

Added Mhatre, “I am humbled and honored to join Berkshire on its 175-year banking journey, and to be the first CEO hired from outside the bank since its transformation to a public company in 2000. Berkshire is a vibrant, values-guided, community-dedicated institution with a tremendous history of caring for its customers and employees through its execution of its mission, BeFIRST values, and keen sense of corporate purpose.”