Center Financial, a bank holding company, has appointed Richard Cupp as new interim chief executive officer of the company and its wholly owned subsidiary Center Bank, effective immediately.

Cupp will succeed Jae Whan Yoo, who was terminated. Cupp has agreed to serve as the chief executive until the earlier of the date when the company completes its proposed merger with Nara Bancorp or 31 December 2011.

Cupp, has served more than 12 years as president and CEO of various community banks, including 1st Century Bank (2002-2007), First Bank of Beverly Hills (1999-2001), HF Bancorp (1997-1999) and Ventura County National Bancorp (1993-1997).

In more recent years, he has served in consulting and advisory roles for banks in the Western United States.

Cupp began his career at larger financial institutions, including 20 years at First Interstate Bancorp, and eight years with California Federal Bank.

Center Financial chairman Jin Chul Jhung said Dick is a well known and highly regarded leader in the Southern California banking industry. He has repeatedly demonstrated his ability as a chief executive to guide top-notch bank management teams and to deal credibly with investors and regulators.
"We are confident that his skills are the right fit for our current needs," Jhung said.