Rowan County hires Howden as new finance director

Published 3:18 pm Thursday, September 24, 2020

SALISBURY — Days after Rowan County announced it was losing longtime Finance Director Leslie Heidrick to retirement after 23 years, her replacement has been named.

James “Jim” Howden has been tapped as Rowan County’s new finance director, a promotion from his previous post as assistant finance director. Howden will start on Oct. 1 after Heidrick officially retires on Sept. 30.

“I am very excited to serve as the next finance director for Rowan County,” Howden said in a news release. “The opportunity to continue the great work that Ms. Heidrick has done for the past 23 years has been my goal since becoming the assistant finance director three and a half years ago. I look forward to working with all Rowan County employees and elected officials in continuing the amazing work everyone does for the County.”

Heidrick said she was pleased with the decision to promote Howden and that he has “excellent financial and leadership skills.”

Howden is a certified public accountant who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in accounting from Western Michigan University. He is a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

The majority of Howden’s 27 years of professional experience have been spent in the private sector. He worked as vice president and senior financial analyst for Bank of America, where he managed monthly reporting and analysis and forecasted and budgeted processes for the global consumer and small business division. He also managed capital projects, wealth management and the commercial division, where the total expense management exceeded $1 billion.

Howden lives in Rowan County with his wife Melissa and three children.

“This is a very important position for Rowan County,” said Rowan County Manager Aaron Church. “The county is fortunate to have someone with Jim’s integrity and experience who knows and understands Rowan County processes and procedures.”

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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