M&T Bank in Buffalo, N.Y., has named René Jones its new chairman and CEO.

Jones, who was also elected to the board of directors of both M&T and its holding company, succeeds Robert Wilmers, its longtime chairman and CEO who died suddenly on Saturday.

M&T also named Richard Gold as president and chief operating officer. Gold was also elected to the boards of both M&T and its parent company.

"Our shareholders, employees, customers and communities can expect to see continuity in M&T's overall vision and direction, and a continued commitment to the values that Bob Wilmers embodied," said René Jones, M&T's new chairman and CEO.

"Over the past 34 years, Bob Wilmers built M&T into one of the most successful banks in the country. Mr. Wilmers did not do it alone, however," Robert T. Brady, M&T's lead outside director, said in a press release. "Together, René, Rich and the rest of the management mommittee are well prepared to perpetuate M&T's long record of strength and success, and to carry on Bob's tradition of conservative, consistent community banking."

Wilmers ran the $123 billion-asset M&T Bank for over three decades. Through roughly two dozen acquistions, he transformed M&T from a local institution largely confined to upstate New York into a regional powerhouse with operations in a dozen states. He was also an articulate voice for the industry and was deeply committed to the communities M&T served, particularly the city of Buffalo.

Jones, 53, joined M&T in 1992. He was appointed to the bank’s management committee in 2005 and was chief financial officer from 2005 to 2016. In 2016, he was put in charge of the bank’s mortgage and consumer lending businesses, in addition to keeping his oversight of treasury and its Wilmington Trust unit. Darren King succeeded him as CFO.

Gold, 57, joined M&T in 1989 and held various managerial roles in retail banking, consumer lending, mortgage and business banking. He was named to the management committee in 2007 and in 2014, he was named vice chairman and chief risk officer.

"Bob Wilmers was an inspiration to us all, and his legacy will live on in everything we do to support our colleagues, serve our customers and strengthen our communities," Jones said in the press release. "Our shareholders, employees, customers and communities can expect to see continuity in M&T's overall vision and direction, and a continued commitment to the values that Bob Wilmers embodied."

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