John Allison's upcoming retirement from BB&T Corp. is prompting more reshuffling in the Winston Salem, N.C., banking company's executive suite.
The $137 billion-asset company on Thursday promoted chief financial officer Chris Henson to chief operating officer. He is to succeed Kelly King, 60, on Jan. 1 when Mr. King is slated to assume the chief executive title from Mr. Allison. Daryl Bible, Mr. Henson's assistant, is to become CFO on Jan. 1.
Mr. King has said he plans to be CEO for five years, but in an interview Thursday Mr. Henson, 47, warned against reading any sort of succession plan into the moves.
"Kelly will deal with that whenever it makes sense for him to. Right now, he's not even in the seat. Kelly is not by nature a caretaker; he's very much going to be an active CEO," said Mr. Henson.
"We have a very experienced team, an exceptional team, and we've got a number of qualified candidates to take on that role whenever it's appropriate," he added.
In August, when he was named Mr. Allison's successor, Mr. King said he would take a fresh look at acquisitions. The company had slowed its dealmaking pace in recent years, citing irrational pricing.
On Thursday, Mr. Henson said BB&T would look at deals that make sense in its footprint. The company has recently been mentioned as a possible bidder for BankUnited Financial Corp. in Coral Gables, Fla., a company burdened by exposure to option adjustable-rate mortgages. However, Mr. Henson declined to comment on whether BB&T would have any interest in the $14.2 billion-asset company were it for sale. BankUnited declined to comment.
BB&T has recently buttressed its capital levels, both under its own steam and with approval this week for $3.1 billion from the Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program.
Its participation came despite strong objections to the original bailout plan by Mr. Allison in late September as the Treasury was still hammering out details. In a Sept. 23 letter to lawmakers before the bailout bill was approved, Mr. Allison argued, "It is extremely important that the bailout not damage well-run companies."
On Thursday, Mr. Henson said: "To the extent additional capital will help us generate additional earnings, then you know that makes sense."
As COO, Mr. Henson said, he would not envisage making major changes, beyond focusing on building relationships and trying to increase revenue in a difficult operating environment.
BB&T's third-quarter net income fell 19.4% from a year earlier, to $358 million. Earnings per share of 64 cents were a penny shy of the Wall Street expectation. The company continued to see deterioration in residential real estate loans during the quarter but said most of its problem loans are confined to that sector.
Mr. Henson has previously been assistant chief financial officer, the president of BB&T's Georgia operations, and president of the company's community bank regions centered on Atlanta and the Hampton Roads area in Virginia.
Mr. Bible, 47, joined BB&T in January after a 24-year career at Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, the last 10 as treasurer.
As part of his promotion, BB&T said, Mr. Bible will immediately join the company's executive management team, which will have 11 members until Mr. Allison's retirement.
BB&T last added members to its executive management team in December 2006, when Clarke Starnes, currently its chief credit officer, and Diana Goodrich, its deposit services manager joined.
Mr. Allison, 60, has said he plans to write and spend more time working with the company's charitable foundations. He will remain chairman for one year after retiring.