The board of Carolina Trust Bank (CART) in Lincolnton, N.C., has recruited the former leader of First Bancorp (FBNC) to be its next president and chief executive.

Jerry Ocheltree will take the helm of the $267 million-asset Carolina Trust on Jan. 1, according to the company's Thursday press release. Ocheltree stepped down from First Bancorp in Southern Pines, N.C., this year. He had served as president and chief executive officer of the $3.2 billion-asset company since 2005.

Ocheltree has also served as chief executive at Premier South Bank in Wytheville, Va., and at First Virginia Bank in Wytheville, Va.

"We had very specific criteria for our new CEO, and we were very deliberate in our search — [Ocheltree] met or exceeded our criteria and he is the right person to lead Carolina Trust," company chairman Johnathan Rhyne, Jr., said in the press release. Ocheltree "has led three community banks with significant successes at each," Rhyne said. "His experience leading banks larger than Carolina Trust has prepared him to manage our bank during this time of economic recovery."

Ocheltree will succeed longtime chief executive J. Michael Cline, who announced plans to retire earlier this year. Cline, 62, has led Carolina Trust since its inception in 2000, according to Chief Financial Officer Donald Boyer.

Carolina Trust operates seven branches in western North Carolina.

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