First Republic Bank in San Francisco has extended the contract of longtime Chairman and Chief Executive James Herbert for another two years.

The $55.4 billion-asset bank announced Thursday that Herbert, 72, would continue to serve as both chairman and CEO through Dec. 31, 2017. After that date, Herbert would relinquish the CEO title but remain executive chairman through Dec. 31, 2021.

Under an earlier agreement announced in 2012, Herbert had been slated to retire as CEO in mid-2016 and serve as chairman until Dec. 31, 2019.

In a news release, First Republic further said that Herbert would spend roughly 80% of his time on chairman-related duties, up from roughly 25% currently.

Herbert founded First Republic in 1985 and in 2007 sold the firm to Merrill Lynch. Herbert continued to run the company under the First Republic name while it was part of Merrill and, later, Bank of America. He reacquired the company in 2010 with the backing of two private-equity groups.

First Republic's board did not say why it opted to extend Herbert's contract, though it's likely the bank's performance in recent years had something to do with the decision. Since First Republic was spun off from Bank of America its assets have nearly tripled and the value of its stock has increased roughly 140%.

"Under Jim's leadership, First Republic has become one of the more successful banks in America," Frank Fahrenkopf, the chair of the board's governance committee, said in a news release.

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