Hudson City Bancorp Inc. said its chairman and chief executive is stepping aside temporarily to attend to an unexpected medical issue, leaving its operating chief to assume those duties for the time being.

In explaining his medical leave, Chairman and Chief Executive Ronald E. Hermance Jr. said a recent routine physical examination found that he had unusually low blood cell counts.

"Fortunately, because I go to the doctor two times each year, my diagnosis was made early. After conferring with the doctors, we determined that the best way to treat my disorder is with a bone marrow transplant," Hermance said.

The executive will receive his treatments over the next several months. In his absence, Hudson City's board has appointed President and Chief Operating Officer Denis J. Salamone to serve as acting chairman and CEO, along with his existing responsibilities.

Hermance, 63 years old as of the company's March proxy filing, has been CEO since January 2002 and chairman since January 2005. Meanwhile, Salamone has worked as the bank holding company's president and operating chief since December 2010. He was elected to the board in October 2001.

The lender last month reported it swung to a fourth-quarter loss as it paid off roughly $4.3 billion in high-cost debt. Loan-loss provisions and charge-offs declined.

Shares closed Thursday at $6.96 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 11% since the start of the year.


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