City Holding Co. of Charleston, W. Va., said it has selected Gerald R. Francis to head the struggling company, but it still needs approval from regulators before he can take office as president and chief executive officer.

Mr. Francis will consult the bank as special assistant to the board of directors until the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency - which in July ordered City Holding to clean up its loan portfolio - approves his appointment. That could take up to 60 days.

Philip L. McLaughlin, chairman of $2.7 billion-asset City Holding, said Mr. Francis "had the type of experience in every aspect we were looking for," including work with banks that had run-ins with regulators. Mr. Francis was president of $659 million-asset Peoples Bank and Trust Co. of Indianapolis, which was bought by Fifth Third Bancorp in 1999. At City Holding he is to succeed Steven J. Day, who stepped down in June after 10 years as CEO.

In January, City Holding reported a 2000 loss of $38.4 million. In the fourth quarter it closed its specialty finance loan origination division and wrote down the value of its two California banks and nonbank units.

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