A veteran banker and former CDS Life Transitions Inc. board chairman has been tapped as interim chairman for the organization in the wake of former chairman Mark Peterson’s departure.
Richard Ferrari, who serves as commercial banking officer at Community Bank N.A., will serve as interim chair through the end of 2017, a role Peterson held since 2010. Ferrari’s role as chairman is expected to become permanent when elections are held in December.
 
Peterson, former president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc., in June relocated to Illinois, where he was named president and chief executive of Intersect Illinois, a startup nonprofit that serves as the lead business recruitment and marketing organization for the state.
 
Ferrari, meanwhile, has served as a board member with CDSLT since 2000. From 2003 to 2006 he served as vice chairman and sat on the executive committee since 2002. From 2006 through 2010 Ferrari served as chairman.
“We are very grateful to our dear friend and colleague Mark Peterson for his contributions to CDS Life Transitions over the past years, and wholeheartedly welcome Rich Ferrari as the interim chairman, a potentially permanent position, of our board as he completes Mark’s term,” said CDSLT President and CEO Sankar Sewnauth, in a statement.
 
CDSLT is a multifaceted nonprofit that primarily serves the needs of intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals. It is the parent company of CDS Monarch and its five other entities, including iCircle, Unistel Industries, CDS Housing, Warrior Salute Veteran Services and the CDS Wolf Foundation.
 
“CDS Life Transitions is a $130 million-plus organization and one of the largest, most innovative not-for-profits in our region. It takes a compassionate, strategic and accountable chairman to keep our organization at the forefront of industry changes, conversations and trends,” Sewnauth said. “We saw this with Mark, and I am confident that under Rich’s leadership and direction, we will continue to grow as the entrepreneurial, thriving and innovative organization that CDS Life Transitions is. We will always serve our mission and give back, just as we have since day one. It’s what we do.”
As interim chairman, Ferrari will be responsible for leading all governance functions for the board and executive committee, approve policies to ensure compliant governance and management of the organization, as well as partner with Sewnauth to lead all development and growth efforts at CDSLT.
 
“I echo Sankar’s remarks regarding Mark serving as a great friend and colleague,” Ferrari said. “Mark contributed greatly to the success, growth and spirit of CDS Life Transitions. We will sorely miss him. It’s a great honor to be returning to the board leadership role at CDS to continue the success and mission for this fantastic organization.”
 
CDSLT was founded as Continuing Developmental Services in 1977. Lewis and Phyllis Wolf were joined by a group of parents who saw a need in the community for a transitional environment for developmentally disabled young adults.
The organization annually serves more than 3,700 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, people with chronic illnesses, seniors and veterans seeking residential services, transitional employment and health care needs.