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Former Flagstar, Sovereign Chief to Lead Needham Bank in Mass.

Needham Bank in Massachusetts has hired a banking veteran as its next chief executive.

The $2 billion-asset mutual said in a press release Thursday that Joe Campanelli will become it CEO on Jan. 3, succeeding Mark Whalen, who is retiring. Whalen, 58, will remain a director.

Campanelli has experience running much bigger banks, including Sovereign Bancorp in Philadelphia, and Flagstar Bancorp in Troy, Mich. When Campanelli joined Flagstar in 2009, the company was struggling with more than $1.1 billion in nonperforming assets; he sold nearly half of those assets within a year of his appointment. He resigned from Flagstar in late 2012 after returning the company to profitability.

Campanelli "distinguished himself based upon his impressive banking career, community involvement, in-market knowledge, and personality match with our culture," Jack McGeorge, Needham's chairman, said in the release.

When Whalen announced this summer that he would retire, the company said the search for a successor could take up to two years, though it hired an executive search firm to assist with the effort. Whalen will work with Campanelli on the transition.

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