Friday, May 24, 2024

Linell Johnson


When Truliant Federal Credit Union Chief Financial Officer Linell Johnson was in high school, he noticed his father up late one night in the kitchen, studying. The next morning, Johnson asked his dad what he was doing.

“I’m studying accounting,” his dad said. “I always wanted to do accounting.”

Johnson’s dad never became an accountant, but the conversation stuck with his son. At the time, Johnson wanted to be an engineer, but at High Point University, where he graduated in 1998, he majored in accounting. “It’s been the best decision I ever made.”

Johnson was named CFO of the Winston-Salem-based credit union in December after 18 months as senior vice president and controller. He succeeded Cosby Davis, who retired. Johnson now leads financial administration, accounting and budgeting, as well as oversight of electronic funds and payment processing, risk management and treasury. Johnson reports to CEO Todd Hall at the state’s second-largest credit union, with $5 billion in assets.

He joined the credit union in 1994 when it was called AT&T Family Federal Credit Union and worked in accounting before becoming its first financial analyst in 1997. In that job, he developed organizational and profit systems and refined budgeting processes.

Johnson left Truliant in September 2013 to become controller and then vice president of finance for Piedmont Advantage Credit Union, a local peer. When he left, Johnson met with Hall, who at the time was chief operating officer. Hall asked him to stay. “At the time I didn’t listen,” says Johnson. “But I watched.”

He returned to Truliant in September 2015 as assistant controller and was promoted to vice president and controller in 2017. He led the credit union’s financial reporting, operational accounting, internal controls and financial policies.

Johnson, who is treasurer of Truliant’s political action committee, says he appreciates how Truliant’s management recognizes his work and focuses on families and communities.

“I was able to come into Truliant and work my way through the organization,” he says. “If you work hard, you will get noticed.”

Now, he says, his job is to provide an example to those who may be starting out at the company.

“I’ve had a wonderful career here,” says Johnson. “I want to make sure that I can be a role model for others who want to be an accountant or CFO. Don’t sell yourself short. If you work hard and have great relationships and listen to those who are mentors to you, you can grow. I’m not just here on my own. I’ve had a lot of help.”


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Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at

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