In early May, Joe Henkel announced his retirement as CEO of Corpus Christi-based Kleberg Bank after serving in that role since 1998. He will continue to serve on the bank’s board as vice chairman.
Gabe Guerra, Corpus Christi market president, will assume leadership as president and CEO. He has directed the bank’s commercial, private and personal banking teams for nearly 10 years. Brad Womack will become the Kingsville market president, adding to his current responsibilities as COO.
“Kleberg Bank is fortunate to have the next generation of management well rooted and positioned to continue the legacy of the bank,” Henkel says. “We prepared for this for several years, so we have absolute confidence that they will lead the bank to even greater accomplishments.”
Henkel began his banking career in 1970 at Kleberg Bank while still in college. After graduating from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M–Kingsville), he continued with the bank and soon was promoted to vice president. In 1978, he moved to Houston, where he held positions as president and CEO for two bank holding companies.
After that, he moved across the Lone Star State to El Paso to serve as CEO of an independent bank there, a position he held until returning to Kleberg Bank in 1998.
Recently, Henkel was presented with the Otis West Lifetime Service Award by the Kingsville Chamber of Commerce for his vigorous advocacy for education and economic development in South Texas. He has been deeply involved in community activities, serving in leadership positions with the Kingsville Chamber of Commerce, Kingsville Area Industrial Development Council and Foundation and Texas A&M–Kingsville Foundation, as well as other civic organizations.
While his extensive involvement in his community will have a lasting impact, Henkel reflects that his most significant legacy is the team of professionals at Kleberg Bank and a culture that continues to exemplify strong values and the same spirit of cooperation and innovation on which the bank was founded more than a century ago.
Guerra has served in executive roles at Kleberg Bank since 2008. He holds a BBA degree in finance from the University of Texas–Austin, and also is a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU. Guerra, a Corpus Christi native, has served as chairman of the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp., chairman of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce and vice chairman of the Corpus Christi Business and Job Development Board, among other civic roles.
Womack has been with Kleberg Bank since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Texas A&M University–Kingsville. Womack actively participates in the Boys and Girls Club of Kingsville, Kingsville Regional Economic Development Council, Kingsville Chamber of Commerce and Texas A&M–Kingsville College of Business Advisory Board.
Founded in 1905, Kleberg Bank is an independent community bank with two financial centers in Kingsville and three in Corpus Christi.
Published in Bankers Digest, May 14, 2018