The chief executive of CertusBank in Greenville, S.C., has officially stepped down after undergoing heart surgery.
John Poelker resigned as chairman and CEO of the $1.4 billion-asset bank, effective immediately, Certus said in a statement Tuesday. Len Davenport, who has been with the company since its founding and recently served as chief investment officer and treasurer, was named interim CEO.
Poelker, 72, stepped away from Certus earlier this month to undergo heart surgery, but the bank had not said that his absence would be permanent. Through a spokesman, the bank declined to comment on its search process.
Poelker "worked tirelessly during his time with CertusBank to reposition the company as a traditional community bank," said Brad Kopp, chairman of CertusHoldings, the parent company, in Tuesday's statement. "Following his recent heart surgery, he needs to focus his time on recuperating fully."
Certus has now replaced its CEO for the second time in just over a year. Poelker, a former bank consultant who has wound down several troubled Georgia companies, was hired in April 2014 after Certus' board fired the bank's remaining founders.
The former leadership had overseen a period of massive losses and high expenses that had attracted a storm of criticism from some investors.
Poelker's plan for a turnaround involved closing or selling branches, selling off side businesses and cutting staff to lower expenses. Despite lower overhead, Certus lost nearly $40 million in the first quarter of this year, after losing nearly $70 million last year. It has lost money for 14 straight quarters.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued Certus an enforcement action last year requiring it to boost its capital ratios. Its Tier 1 ratio stood at less than 4% at March 31, though the recently completed sale of its small-business lending unit to BankUnited should improve its capital position.
Certus was founded in 2011 with $500 million in hedge-fund backing to buy failed banks throughout the Southeast.