FirstMerit Names Sandra Pierce Vice Chairman and Michigan Chief

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FirstMerit (FMER) of Akron, Ohio, has chosen a veteran banker in the upper Midwest to manage its newly acquired business in Michigan.

Sandra Pierce will become vice chairman of FirstMerit Corp. and chairman and CEO of FirstMerit Michigan on Feb. 1, the company announced on Wednesday. She will be responsible for the $14.6 billion-asset bank's retail banking, wealth management and marketing and will report to Chairman and Chief Executive Paul Greig.

Pierce will oversee FirstMerit's operations in Michigan once the company completes its purchase of Citizens Republic Bancorp (CRBC), which is headquartered in Flint and has assets of $9.6 billion. The $912-million deal was announced in September. It is expected to close in the second quarter, a FirstMerit spokesman said.

Before joining FirstMerit, Pierce was Midwest regional executive, president and CEO for Charter One Bank Michigan, a division of RBS Citizens, which is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and has $107 billion in assets. Pierce has also held executive positions at JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank One and First Chicago.

Charter One Bank has not named a new president for its Michigan operations. Scott Swanson, who was president and CEO of Charter One Illinois, assumed Pierce's responsibilities in Michigan on July 1, following Pierce's departure, a Charter One spokeswoman said. Swanson resigned from Charter One on Tuesday to become regional president of PNC Bank Illinois, and the bank has not named a replacement, according to the spokeswoman.

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