Five Star Searching for New CEO After Long-Time Chief Steps Down

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Peter G. Humphrey, the president and chief executive at Financial Institutions (FISI), has retired from the Warsaw, N.Y., company to spend more time with family and pursue other interests.

Humphrey is also stepping down as president and CEO of Five Star Bank, effective immediately, the $2.6 billion-asset Financial Institutions said Tuesday. Chairman John E. Benjamin will assume duties as interim CEO while the company searches for Humphrey's replacement.

Humphrey will remain on the board and "be involved in the regional and state business community, helping drive a competitive, sustainable business climate across Upstate New York," he said in a news release.

"With consistent growth and our recent successes, the board of directors agreed with Peter's assessment that now was an optimal time for him to step down," Benjamin said in a news release. "In anticipation of this occurrence, the board has been involved in CEO succession planning for the past two years to ensure a seamless transition in corporate leadership."

Benjamin was elected as chairman in 2010 in addition to serving as a director for nine years. He is president of Three Rivers Development, a private-sector group focused on the economic development of the Corning, N.Y., area.

Humphrey has been with Financial Institutions and its predecessors for 35 years and was elevated to president and CEO of the company in 1994. He took the company public in 1999 and in 2005 he became president and CEO of Five Star Bank after the company merged its five subsidiary banks into a single bank.

As part of the transition to new leadership, Richard J. Harrison has been promoted to chief operating officer while Martin K. Birmingham has been named president and chief of community banking. Harrison was most recently executive vice president and chief of retail banking. He joined Financial Institutions in 2003 after serving as executive vice president and chief credit officer at Savings Bank of the Finger Lakes.

Birmingham was most recently commercial banking executive vice president and regional president of the Northeast for Five Star. Before joining the company in 2005, he was Rochester regional market president for Bank of America (BAC).

This year Financial Institutions bought eight branches and roughly $376 million of deposits from First Niagara Financial Group (FNFG).

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