Columbia Bank hires new general counsel, appoints two new directors

Columbia Banking System this week announced the addition of three new persons joining the company in leadership positions.

•  Kumi Yamamoto Baruffi has been appointed executive vice president and general counsel. She joins the banking system’s executive management team and will oversee Columbia’s legal services. Included in her duties will be oversight of both legal services and corporate and regulatory matters.

Before joining Columbia, Baruffi was a shareholder and member of the board at Seattle law firm Graham and Dunn focusing on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and regulatory compliance, according to a Columbia release.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Tokyo, Baruffi graduated from Wellesley College and attended Boston University School of Law.

•  Craig Eerkes is one of two new appointments to the Columbia board of directors. He serves as president and CEO at Sun Pacific Energy, and also serves on the board of WMI Insurance Co. of Salt Lake City. Eerkes was chairman and a director at American West Bancorp form 2004 to 2012, and also has served with First Hawaiian Bank and American National Bank of Kennewick. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound and resides in Kennewick.

•  Mark Finkelstein, the second board appointee, served as executive vice president for corporate development and also as general counsel of Emeritus Corp., a 31,000-employee health care company. He also has worked in the private investment and capital management community, and he practiced at Graham and Dunn, according to the Columbia release. A Seattle resident, Finkelstein earned a economics and law degrees from the University of Michigan.

The appointments of Eerkes and Finkelstein are being made in anticipation of the departure of Columbia directors who are reaching retirement age and whose terms will expire next spring.