BB&T Gives Kelly King Three More Years as CEO

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BB&T has extended the contract of its chief executive for three years.

The $182-billion asset company said Wednesday it has eliminated a provision in Kelly King's contract that would have required him to step down when he turns 65 this September. His contract now goes through 2015.

King, who succeeded John Allison as chairman two years ago after following him as CEO in January 2009, will be paid a base salary of $985,000 in 2012.

Under the revised contract, if King's employment were to end early he would receive severance tied to an average of his annual pay for the most recent three years, as opposed to severance based on his highest pay over that time, according to a filing by the company with the Securities Exchange Commission.

BB&T's board released him from a promise not to compete against the bank if he were to lose his job following a change in control of the company, according to the filing.

"The board of directors for BB&T is very pleased that Kelly King has agreed to renew his employment contract and lead the company past age 65," Cynthia Williams, BB&T's chief communications officer, said in an email. "The board believes that continuity of Kelly's leadership is in the best interests of the company, its shareholders and associates. "

King has presided over a period of growth. The company picked up nearly 80 branches and $3 billion of deposits in July when it bought BankAtlantic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The deal followed by roughly two years BB&T's purchase of the failed Colonial Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

BB&T also has focused on building out its network of branches. In November, King detailed plans to spend $40 million to open 30 new offices in the four biggest cities in Texas. Most of the branches are expected to open in 2013 and to focus primarily on commercial and small business lending.

In a wide-ranging interview with American Banker in January, King described both the challenges and rewards of his tenure. He also said he was "just getting started" as CEO. "If somebody asked me about retirement, I would tell them that I'm too young to think about retiring," King said.

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