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Smith Succeeds Cohen as Firestone Financial Leader

Management change part of coordinated succession plan

NEEDHAM, Mass. — Firestone Financial, a direct lender that provides Laundromat financing, reports that Michael Smith, executive vice president and chief operations officer, has assumed the company’s top leadership position.

Longtime CEO David Cohen transitioned out of the company in mid-May, Firestone says.

“I come into my expanded role excited to continue the foundation David set and bring a renewed energy and excitement for the future,” says Smith. “David’s commitment to the growth and prosperity of all the industries we serve is ingrained in everything we do. And that commitment will remain the same.”

The company says the management change was part of a well-coordinated succession plan in process since Berkshire Bank acquired Firestone in 2015.

Smith has led all key functional areas of the business during his tenure and brings a deep knowledge of the business and its customers, Firestone says. The company says customers and partners will experience no significant changes in the management of their account or points of contact during or after the transition.

Firestone hired Smith in 2008 to lead key operational areas as vice president, credit, operations, and risk management. In 2015, the attorney was appointed senior vice president, portfolio risk officer, and led the credit, risk, loan operations, and portfolio management teams. He was named executive vice president, chief operations officer, in 2018, adding oversight of sales and marketing, technology, and finance functions.

He has over 30 years of finance and lending experience, having previously worked as director of operations and legal counsel for AGFA Financial Services Inc.

“Firestone is at a point where we not only want to continue in the industries that the business was built on, but also deepen relationships with channel partners, vendors, manufacturers, and distributors as well as expand into additional industries,” says Tom Varriale, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Coming off a record year in 2018, and under Mike’s leadership, we’re poised better than ever to meet our aggressive goals, increase efficiencies, and deliver even more value to our customers and partners.”