Wade Reece has announced his plans to retire after 25 years heading BB&T's insurance division.

The 59-year-old Reece, who joined BB&T in 1978 after graduating from North Carolina State University, plans to retire on Dec. 31 from BB&T Insurance Services, the Raleigh, N.C.-based subsidiary of the $210 billion-asset BB&T, according to a news release.

When BB&T offered Reece the leadership of BB&T's troubled insurance arm in 1990, Reece said the department "stunk," former Chief Executive John Allison recalled in an American Banker op-ed last year.

After Reece accepted the job, he grew the insurance division through the acquisition of more than 100 agencies and brokerages. It grew from having about $6 million in yearly revenue to the world's sixth-largest insurance broker with about $1.7 billion in revenue, as of 2014.

"I never dreamed BB&T Insurance Services would evolve into what it is today," Reece said in a news release. "It's been an incredible experience and a lot of fun."

Reece will be succeeded by John Howard, who is currently vice chairman and CEO of the wholesale and specialty division of BB&T Insurance Holdings.

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