Hancock Holding in Gulfport, Miss., will streamline to having a single chief executive after Carl Chaney leaves at the end of this year.

Chaney, 53, who joined the $19 billion-asset company in 1998 as chief financial officer, has shared the CEO title with John Hairston since 2006. Chaney relinquished his title as Hancock's president, effective immediately, and will retire as CEO and as a director on Dec. 31.

Hairston, 51, succeeded Chaney as Hancock's president and will become its sole CEO when Chaney departs. Hairston, who has held executive-level posts at the company since 1994, had been chief operating officer while sharing CEO duties.

Chaney's retirement agreement includes a noncompete clause barring him from joining or advising a competing business in Mississippi or Louisiana through the end of 2016.

"Now that the merger, integration and strategic direction of the new company are successfully completed, Carl has decided the time is right for him to meet his personal goal of early retirement, and permit Hancock to move towards a more streamlined executive structure," James Estabrook, Hancock's chairman, said in the release.

Hancock bought the $13 billion-asset Whitney Holding in 2011. Though management initially touting having separate banks, Hancock merged the charter earlier this year. The company has also been selling and closing branches and cutting other expenses.

D. Shane Loper, Hancock's chief administrative officer, will succeed Hairston as chief operating officer. Loper, who joined Hancock 23 years ago, has held several leadership roles since then, including recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. He has also been in charge of the company's recent efficiency initiative.

Joseph Exnicios will succeed Chaney as president of Whitney Bank. He was a senior executive at Whitney before the bank's sale to Hancock. He joined Whitney in 1978, and has served as the bank's chief risk officer and president of its corporate bank.

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