Robert E. Lowder is retiring as chairman and CEO of Colonial BancGroup Inc.
Colonial also announced that Lowder, 66, would retire as president and leave the board once the company he founded in 1981 is sold to an investor group led by Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. The $26 billion-asset Montgomery, Ala., company said in a press release that its board plans to name a replacement "promptly," which could expedite Lowder's retirement.
Lowder's departure was not a surprise. Analysts for months had said he may leave to pave the way for new ownership. In an interview last week, Lee Farkas, the CEO at Taylor, Bean, declined to back Lowder when asked if the executive would have a job if control changed hands.
Taylor, Bean is leading a group that will invest $300 million in Colonial in exchange for a 75% stake in the company. The infusion, which relies on regulatory approval, could open the door to $550 million from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Capital remains the overarching concern at Colonial, which lost $880.5 million last year and another $168 million in the first quarter. About 46% of the company's assets are in Florida, where it was heavily involved in lending to residential developers.