by Elizabeth Ghaffari

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Julia GouwPresident and Chief Operating Officer, East West Bank

Born 1959 in Surabaya, Indonesia.

In 1978, Julia S. Gouw was the first of her family to emigrate from Indonesia to the United States to earn a college degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She initially wanted to pursue a degree in chemistry, but switched to accounting and finance. After graduating, she became a certified public accountant and eventually worked for KPMG LLP, an international accounting firm, as a senior audit manager (1983–1989).

Ms. Gouw joined Pasadena, California-based East West Bank in 1989 as vice president and controller, rising quickly ...

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