Julia S. Gouw is retired president, chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors of East West Bancorp, Inc. and East West Bank—one of the largest independent banks headquartered in California that serves as the financial bridge between U.S. and China. East West Bancorp is among the top 30 largest banks in the nation. The bank's outstanding performance has won its recognition as one of the top 15 of "America's 100 Best Banks" by Forbes for five consecutive years.
Ms. Gouw originally joined East West Bank in 1989 as controller and quickly rose through the ranks to executive vice president and chief financial officer, a position she held from 1994 to 2008. Ms. Gouw served as president and chief operating officer from 2009 to her retirement on March 31, 2016. Under her leadership, East West achieved 11 consecutive years of record earnings—a stellar track record widely recognized throughout the banking and investment communities. Prior to joining East West, she was a senior audit manager at KPMG.
With outstanding business leadership, Ms. Gouw was ranked one of the "25 Most Powerful Women in Banking" five times by American Banker magazine and has twice received the Los Angeles Business Journal's "Women Making a Difference" award. She has also been selected among Los Angeles Business Journal's "L.A.'s Top Women in Finance." Ms. Gouw has been named Philanthropist of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners in Los Angeles. She understands the power of education, thus she actively contributes to medical research, education programs, environmental conservancy program and other organizations to improve the lives of people.
Ms. Gouw currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Pacific Mutual Holding Company and PacificLife Corp. She was appointed by the U.S. secretary of commerce to serve as a district export council member to support the nation's joint industry/government export expansion effort. Ms. Gouw also served on the board of overseers for the UCLA Health System, where she established an Endowed Chair for Mood Disorders Research. She is the founding chair of the Executive Women's Advisory Board for the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women's Health Center. Besides women's health, she also supports women's diverse achievements and advancing women's leadership role as a board member of the Trusteeship, the affiliate organization of the International Women's Forum. In the global perspective, she contributes to the Indonesia program of The Nature Conservancy to help environmental sustainability and to Clinton Global Initiative to promote cultural exchange and the well-being of the community.
Born and raised in Indonesia, Ms. Gouw came to the United States in 1978 where she earned her bachelor of science in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Gouw is a certified public accountant.