First Niagara Financial (FNFG) in Buffalo, N.Y., has recruited a former executive at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) to join its board.

Austin Adams retired as chief information officer at JPMorgan Chase in 2006. He became the New York company's top technology executive in 2004 after Chase bought Bank One. Since retiring, Adams has been advising banks on information technology issues.

"We look forward to his contributions to First Niagara, as the company makes strategic investments designed to deliver sustained value to shareholders in the years ahead," Nathaniel Woodson, First Niagara's chairman, said in a press release Tuesday.

Adams's appointment comes as the $38 billion-asset First Niagara prepares to make a big investment in technology.

Gary Crosby, First Niagara's chief executive, said in January that he plans to invest $200 million to $250 million in coming years to improve the company's technology infrastructure. The initiative is aimed at rolling out new offerings more efficiently. It is also intended to help the company cheaply adapt to regulatory changes.

First Niagara also recently joined BIAN, an IT standards group that creates blueprints for IT departments to guide them through software implementation.

Earlier this year, First Niagara cut 170 positions and closed 10 branches in an effort to centralize its administrative operations.

Adams resigned as chairman of CommunityOne Bancorp (COB) in Charlotte, N.C., to join First Niagara's board. Carlyle Group, which owns about 22% of CommunityOne's stock, had appointed Adams to the board of the $2 billion-asset company in 2011. CommunityOne said in its press release that banking law prevents Adams from serving on two bank boards at the same time.

CommunityOne said that J. Chandler Martin had succeeded Adams as its chairman. Martin is a former treasurer at Bank of America (BAC). Martin joined CommunityOne's board in 2011.

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