John A. Allison is planning to retire from the board of BB&T (BBT) in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Allison, who led the $182 billion-asset company for two decades before stepping down as chief executive in December 2008, will leave the board after the April 29 annual meeting. Allison, 65, plans to devote more time to the Cato Institute, where he became CEO of the libertarian organization in 2012.

"When I retired as chief executive officer, I expected to remain on the board until I turned 65, so the time has come for me to focus all of my energy to promoting free-market capitalism," Allison said in a press release Wednesday. "For me, this is a cause that is critical to the future success of our country."

"The importance of John's leadership to BB&T for more than 35 years is immeasurable," BB&T Chairman and CEO Kelly King said in the release. "He will be missed. John's passion for free markets makes him a relentless advocate in Washington."

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