Growth strategist and former Google executive Laura Merling has joined Arvest Bank of Fayetteville to lead its next-generation banking transformation, the company announced Tuesday.
As Arvest's chief transformation and operations officer, Merling will oversee the bank's multi-year plan to adopt a new core banking platform and enhance digital services. Arvest announced in September that it had partnered with European technology companies Thought Machine and Accenture to deploy the new platform.
Merling is known for developing and implementing a replicable framework for transformation based around five pillars that large corporations need to achieve success, Arvest said in a news release. Those pillars are: a multi-year business vision, customer understanding, technology alignment, metrics and measurement, and governance.
Merling has more than 20 years of experience across the aerospace, automotive, telecommunications and software industries. At Google, she was chief transformation officer and managing director of cloud computing services.
“Laura has built her reputation identifying and forecasting unique market positions," Arvest President & CEO Kevin Sabin said. "Her operational experience at companies as diverse as Ford and AT&T, along with her technology background at Google Cloud, provides the foundation for her pragmatic approach to delivering on growth initiatives. We’re fortunate to have her leading transformation, technology, and bank operations as we embark on a significant period of evolution and growth.”
Merling has also been an executive advisor to the international consulting firms Slalom Consulting of Seattle, Washington, and McKinsey & Co. of New York City. Her career began in Silicon Valley, where she worked at a range of software companies and startups.
Merling's focus over the years, she said in the release, has been "disrupting existing business models, improving customer experience, and creating operational efficiency."
“The financial services industry is at an intriguing inflection point," she said. "Arvest has embraced the change, and is at a point where a programmatic approach to delivering business outcomes can make a significant impact on the journey to creating the next generation of community banking; I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Merling studied Business Administration at Oakland University and graduated from the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. She serves as a board member and risk and audit committee member of B2B travel platform CarTrawler, an advisor to digital manufacturing platform Authentise and a mentor for women seeking leadership opportunities through the Athena Alliance.
Arvest has more than 200 locations in four states and $26 billion in assets.