Integra Financial Corp., the Pittsburgh-based banking company that will soon merge with Cleveland-based National City Corp., has lost another senior executive, the second to depart since the beginning of the year.
Integra said last week that Gayland B. Cook, president of Integra Bank of Pittsburgh, has resigned. Mr. Cook said he will join a venture run by Leonard M. Carroll, Integra Financial's former president and chief operating officer, who announced his resignation several weeks ago to form a privately owned investment company.
Mr. Cook, 43, headed the largest of Integra's 10 community banks. He will be replaced by Richard L. Lewis, 46, Integra's executive vice president for consumer and small-business lending.
In an interview, Mr. Cook said his decision to leave was partly related to the expected merger of Integra with National City. But, he added it was not a simple case of "cause and effect."
"I could have continued getting up at six each morning to go to work at the bank, but I reached a point where I had to decide whether I was going to spend the rest of my life in the cocoon of a large corporation or venture out and take some personal risk," he said. "The changes that are coming caused me to reassess those issues."
The $15 billion-asset Integra focuses mainly on consumer banking in western Pennsylvania. It is scheduled to merge in May with National City, which has $35 billion in assets.
National City has traditionally done much of its business with middle- market and large corporations. It operates in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Integra said it plans to retain "a strong emphasis on both consumer and small-business loans," but the merger with National City will permit it to "move much further upmarket and pursue corporate business."
Analysts estimated that the departures of Mr. Cook and Mr. Carroll are directly linked to the merger, and noted that Integra has been restructuring its operations for several months in advance of the deal's closing.
As early as last October, Integra announced it planned to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 29% of its employees, as a result of the transaction.
Analysts also said responsibility for Integra's operations is increasingly being concentrated in the hands of its president, Thomas W. Golonski.
"Tom Golonski is clearly the critical person going forward," said James M. Schutz, a bank analyst with the Chicago Corp. Joseph Duwan, a banking analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods,
noted that National City hopes to expand middle- market banking in western Pennsylvania as a result of the merger. However, the bank could lose critical line management if more executives bolt, he said.
"They want to reduce costs, but they also have to balance that in order to retain business people," said Mr. Duwan. "It's a very fine line that has to be walked."