A pair of high-profile retirements at BB&T is raising questions about who will be its next chief executive.
The $212 billion-asset company said in a press release Thursday that Ricky Brown, its president, and Steve Wiggs, its chief marketing officer and lending group manager, will retire later this year. Wiggs, 58, is leaving on Sept. 30, followed by Brown, 60, on Dec. 15.
Both executives have spent their entire professional careers at BB&T.
Brown joined the Winston-Salem, N.C., company in 1977; he was named to its executive management team in 2004. Wiggs has been at BB&T since 1979, joining the executive management team a year before Brown.
The departures highlight the lengthy tenure of many top BB&T executives, including Chairman and Chief Executive Kelly King, who hinted at more news in the months ahead.
"Our executive management team continues to be thoughtful about our long-term succession planning, and we expect to share additional announcements later this year," King, 67, said in Thursday's release.
The release initially generated new speculation about King's future at the company, with Jason Goldberg, an analyst at Barclays, drawing attention to the promise of "additional announcements."
BB&T disclosed in a regulatory filing late in the day that King's statement was not a reference to his own retirement. In fact, the company noted in the filing that King will remain chairman and CEO "for the foreseeable future."
While older than many other banks CEOs who have retired, King said in an interview last year that he had the health and energy to serve for many more years. The company even went as far as removing its mandatory retirement age in 2012 to give King the ability to remain in charge.
"Being CEO is more about how long you've been in the role rather than your age, with some exceptions," King said last year. "I believe that as long as the person is energized and has good faculty and focus, they tend to do a really good job."
Brown had been pegged by industry observers as a possible successor for King. Chris Henson, BB&T's chief operating officer and former chief financial officer, has also been mentioned by analysts as a logical candidate.
BB&T said David Weaver, 49, will succeed Brown as its community bank president. Weaver joined the executive management team in January. The company did not name a successor to Wiggs.
Brown and Wiggs are the latest members of the executive management team to announce retirement plans this year. Cynthia Williams, BB&T's chief corporate communications officer, is planning to retire at the end of June.