Baxter Credit Union announced Monday the death of founding President and CEO A. Rex Johnson.
Johnson died Friday surrounded by family. He was 77.
He was known as a charismatic leader who inspired BCU employees to live the "people helping people" purpose of the Vernon Hills-based credit union, according to a company statement.
Johnson began work in 1980 to start a credit union for Baxter International employees and their families, as well as lead the merger between American Hospital Supply and Travenol Employees Credit Union. The resulting Baxter Credit Union was chartered in 1981.
Under his leadership, BCU became the fastest-growing credit union in Illinois, reaching $300 million and 72,000 members in just over a decade. Johnson then founded Lending Solutions Inc. in 1994.
Johnson is an Illinois Credit Union and CUES Hall of Fame inductee. He received CUNA's prestigious Phil Greer Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
"I have always been so proud to say I worked for Rex Johnson," said Mike Valentine, BCU president and CEO. "Following his lead as BCU's CEO is something I'm extremely humbled and honored to have been given the opportunity to do. No one taught me more about credit unions than Rex, a sentiment shared by many of us in the industry. That's quite a legacy."
To honor Rex's memory, BCU will award a $5,000 Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship in his name. The credit union's annual scholarship program reopens April 26. BCU also made a donation to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.