Edward E. Crutchfield said he will resign the post of chief executive officer at First Union Corp. for health reasons. He will continue as chairman of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank.
The resignation will take effect April 18, the date of First Union's shareholder meeting. G. Kennedy Thompson, First Union's president, will pick up the CEO title.
"This is the next step in a succession plan put in place some time ago," said Mr. Crutchfield. "During these next months I will devote appropriate energy to treatment for a highly curable form of cancer called lymphoma."
Mr. Crutchfield, 58, said he will continue to be "actively involved with the corporation." He is expected to remain as chairman until "at least Dec. 31, 2000," according to a First Union statement
Mr. Thompson, 49, is expanding his role at a difficult time for the bank. First Union, which under Mr. Crutchfield's leadership grew from $7 billion of assets in 1984 to $253 billion today, has been hit hard by customer defections and lackluster earnings.
In the wake of the news, the bank's stock jumped about 4% to $31.1875 in mid-afternoon trading.
Check American Banker Online later today for expanded coverage of this story.