State Revenue director resigns to join KeyBank as regional head

Washington State Department of Revenue Director Carol K. Nelson will leave government service later this month and return to the private sector.

Nelson has been named Seattle market president and Pacific Region sales executive for KeyBank in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, according to releases from both KeyBank and the department.

Nelson has served as agency director and CEO and executive cabinet member to Governor Jay Inslee since 2013. She will join KeyBank on Jan. 20 after leaving her Olympia office Jan. 16.

“These two years have been a remarkable experience and a profoundly rewarding opportunity to serve you and the people of Washington,” Nelson wrote to Inslee in her letter of resignation.

“I am extremely proud of the progress the agency has made during my tenure in its efforts to increase customer service and operational efficiency, enhance transparency and promote fair and consistent tax policy,” she said.

Inslee stated in return, “Carol ushered in remarkable new improvements at our Department of Revenue that are helping the agency serve its customers faster and more efficiently.”

Among her accomplishments at the department, Nelson introduced Live Chat to quickly answer taxpayer questions, returned more than $120 million in unclaimed property and developed an online process for taxpayers to amend their returns, according to the department.

Based in Seattle, Nelson will lead Key’s resources across Washington, Oregon and Alaska “while driving revenue and growth within the commercial and private banking businesses. She will champion employee engagement and drive collaboration and coordination among bank departments and markets,” according to KeyBank.

The bank’s market presidents in Oregon, Alaska and South Puget Sound will report to her, as will the business, commercial and private banking leaders in those markets.

Nelson began her financial career as a management trainee with Seafirst Bank in 1978 and, over the next 24 years with Bank of America, advanced through a variety of commercial banking and retail banking roles to become northern region executive, according to the bank release.

In the following decade, as president and CEO of Cascade Financial Corporation and Cascade Bank, Nelson transformed the company from a savings bank to a community bank.

A Seattle native, Nelson holds MBA and BA degrees from Seattle University.

She succeeds Portland-based Brian Rice, who left the regional role last summer to pursue a career outside banking.