Long-time Wachovia Corp. executive Anthony L. Furr announced his retirement Monday amid a corporate restructuring.
Mr. Furr is only 50 and had at one time been considered a possible contender for the top spot at Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wachovia.
Mr. Furr said he is stepping down as chairman and CEO of the company's South Carolina subsidiary, a job he had held for three years.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Furr said he wanted to move his family back to the Winston-Salem area, where he maintains both a home and a farm. Asked why he was leaving at such a young age, he said "I know it seems young, but I've been on the road a lot."
He also said he has no plan to return to banking full-time.
Mr. Furr's managerial duties in South Carolina will be assumed by Will B. Spence Jr., 52, formerly head of Wachovia's consumer financial services division. The board of Wachovia Bank of South Carolina elected Mr. Spence its president and chief operating officer, effective Feb. 1.
Replacing Mr. Spence is W. Doug King, 56, formerly consumer credit services executive.
Mr. Spence's old division, which handles credit card, residential mortgage, sales finance, and telephone banking operations, has in turn been placed under Wachovia's recently formed general banking division, which is led by G. Joseph Prendergast. The strengthening of Mr. Prendergast's unit, in fact, seems to be precipitating much of the restructuring at Wachovia.
The company formed its general banking unit last November to oversee retail and home market commercial business in its North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia banks. Although the company played down the move at the time, Mr. Furr's resignation and the fact that consumer financial services is now under general banking suggests a continuing growth in Mr. Prendergast's power at the expense of other executives.
Monday, Wachovia said that Mr. Prendergast, 49, had resigned his other post as president and CEO of the Georgia bank to devote most of his efforts to the general banking division. Mr. Prendergast remains chairman of Wachovia Bank of Georgia.
Both Mr. Furr and Mr. Prendergast, interviewed separately, denied that the resignation was related to the growth of the latter's division.
Moving up to replace Mr. Prendergast is D. Gary Thompson, formerly executive vice president and head of retail banking in Georgia.
Another promotion announced Monday was that of Thomas D. Hills, to Atlanta city president in the Georgia bank. Mr. Hills had most recently been a division manager for Atlanta/Fulton County.
Mr. Furr, the departing executive, joined Wachovia in 1969 and spent most of his career in the international department. In 1988, he became a regional executive in North Carolina. Two years later, he was appointed chief financial officer to succeed the retiring H. Jack Runnion Jr.