After 35 years on the job, the last eight as president and chief executive, the head of South Carolina's largest thrift will retire.

A.L. Hutchinson Jr. will step down at First Financial Holdings Inc. of Charleston, effective June 30, he told the company's shareholders last week.

"I just want to do a little fishing and hunting," said Mr. Hutchinson, 62. "We've built a solid management team here that can carry the company into the 21st century. I feel that my leaving won't even be a bump in the road."

Mr. Hutchinson will be replaced by A. Thomas Hood, 49, who has been with the company since 1975 and is currently president and chief executive of its Charleston subsidiary, First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Charleston. Mr. Hood previously was treasurer and chief financial officer.

Both Mr. Hutchinson, a native of the area, and Mr. Hood are graduates of the Citadel, the well-known Charleston military institute.

The company also promoted Susan E. Baham to senior vice president and chief financial officer of the holding company. She has been with the company for 25 years, most recently as a vice president of the holding company.

First Financial, with $1.4 billion of assets, earned $2.5 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31, a 14% increase from the previous year. The company attributed the improvement to growth in net interest income. Loan originations increased by 78% as a result of lower interest rates, the company also reported.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.