Ed Wehmer, along with some friends, started Wintrust over a card table with some beers and cigars. The idea was to open a bank that would be the alternative to the big banks and it became reality in 1991 with the first Wintrust Community Bank location, Lake Forest Bank & Trust. Since May 1998, Ed has served as president and CEO of Wintrust. Today, although he’s passed the title of president on, he continues as CEO and remains involved with the Company’s day-to-day operations and strategic initiatives.
Prior to his current role, Ed served as Wintrust’s president and chief operating officer since the Company’s official formation in 1996, and as president of Lake Forest Bank & Trust before that. Ed is committed to being personally involved with many aspects of the Company’s operation, which is why he serves as advisory director of Wintrust’s main operating subsidiaries. He’s the only board member who is also a manager of the Company, so he’s able to provide valuable insight into management and operations, as well as historic context.
Ed is a certified public accountant and, earlier in his career, spent seven years with the accounting firm, Ernst & Young LLP, specializing in the banking field, particularly in the area of bank mergers and acquisitions. That background has helped him oversee Wintrust as it’s grown into a company with more than 175 community bank locations and a number of specialized groups and divisions offering specific financial services.
Outside of Wintrust, Ed serves on the board of directors of Stepan Company (NYSE), a chemical manufacturing and distribution company; director of the Catholic Extension Society; chair of Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation; on the audit committee of Northwestern Memorial Health Care; as a trustee for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Foundation; and vice chairman of the finance board of the Archdiocese of Chicago.