California Bank & Trust Promotes Eric Ellingsen to CEO

Ellingsen Takes the Helm After More Than Two-Decades of Commitment

David E. Blackford Transitions to Executive Chairman Role

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–California Bank & Trust (CB&T) announces the promotion of Eric Ellingsen, a banking industry leader and company veteran of over twenty years, from president and COO to CEO, effective today. Ellingsen will continue his role as president with new leadership responsibilities as CEO. He will continue to oversee the growth of the bank across the state, including direct oversight of its commercial banking division. David E. Blackford will transition from his role as prior CEO to executive chairman, with continuing responsibility for the bank’s commercial real estate portfolio.

Ellingsen began his impressive career trajectory at CB&T in a four-month temporary role as a junior accountant that led to a permanent position within the company. From there, this led to more senior roles handling risk management, regulatory compliance, international banking and asset/liability management. In 2012, he was promoted to CFO where he was responsible for the overall financial management of the company and then in 2016, rose to the position of President and COO. In this role, he oversaw business and branch banking, SBA lending, private banking, corporate services, and the bank’s finance and planning functions.

“Eric has been an invaluable asset to CB&T for more than twenty years,” notes Blackford. “He has made important contributions not only at CB&T, but at the larger Zions Bancorporation level as well; and has been a big part of CB&T’s consistently strong financial performance throughout the years. As I begin my new path as executive chairman, I couldn’t imagine anyone else taking on the role of CEO. I look forward to witnessing Eric’s continued achievement in 2021 and beyond.”

In his new role as president and CEO, Ellingsen will manage the credit and lending process alongside Blackford and will oversee the commercial banking division as well as take a seat on the Zions Bancorporation executive committee. Since this transition has been part of long-standing succession plans, most other responsibilities of the role have already been shifted to Ellingsen in recent years to ensure continuity for clients and stakeholders.

“I’m proud to be carrying on the incredible legacy David has built through the years,” says Ellingsen. “He has been a terrific leader and mentor and is arguably one of the most talented bankers I’ve encountered. The credit culture he’s built at CB&T will be part of his lasting legacy, and while his are large shoes to fill, we’ve built an incredible team at CB&T and I’m confident our best years are still to come. I look forward to the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead to continue to grow the bank, invest in our people, serve our clients and make a positive difference in the community.”

Ellingsen plays an active role supporting many nonprofit and professional groups throughout the west coast including recently serving as the chairman of the board for the Western Bankers Association. He has also been recognized and awarded in the following publications:

  • “CFO of the Year – Large Public Company” in 2014 and “San Diego 500 – Top Most Influential Business Leaders in San Diego” in 2018 and 2020 by the San Diego Business Journal
  • “Top 50 Most Influential in San Diego” in 2013 by the San Diego Daily Transcript

Ellingsen received a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from James Madison University and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He resides in Solana Beach, Calif. with his wife and two daughters.

To learn more, visit for additional details. Connect with CB&T on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About California Bank & Trust: California Bank & Trust has been helping Californians and their businesses grow and prosper for more than 60 years. Today, it is among California’s leading banks with more than $11 billion in assets and nearly 90 branch offices located throughout the state. A division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. (NASDAQ: ZION), CB&T has been voted “Best Bank” by the San Diego Union Tribune for ten consecutive years, and “Best Commercial Bank” for seven years in a row. Readers of The Orange County Register have also voted CB&T as the county’s “Best Bank” for seven consecutive years; and the group has consistently won the Greenwich Excellence Awards for achievement in Middle-Market and Small Business. CB&T provides a full array of financial solutions for businesses and individuals, including commercial banking, business banking, small business lending, treasury management, international banking and wealth management. Its experienced and professional bankers are backed by major resources yet maintain local decision-making authority and regional market and industry expertise. Each is committed to providing clients with valuable economic insights and connecting them with the beneficial business relationships they need in order to succeed. To learn more, visit


Leslie Licano, Beyond Fifteen Communications

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