The longtime leader of Virginia's F&M National Corp. will retire from day-to-day management next year.

W.M. Feltner, 79, told a crowd assembled for the annual meeting that he would retire as chief executive officer next April. Mr. Feltner has worked at Winchester-based F&M since 1942.

He was named chief executive in 1969. Since then F&M has grown from $67 million of assets to $2.9 billion. It now owns nine banks, which do business in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.

Mr. Feltner will remain chairman. A successor has chief executive has not been chosen, the company said.

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