Mechanics Bank in Walnut Creek, Calif., shook up its top leadership post following its sale to a Dallas investment group.

Christa Steele, who had been Mechanics' president and chief executive since October 2013, has left the bank. Kenneth Russell is filling Steele's roles on an interim basis, according to the bank’s website. The site also shows that Steele is no longer on Mechanics' board.

Mechanics is conducting a search for a permanent replacement, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

A private-equity group, co-managed by Gerald J. Ford and Carl Webb, recently completed a tender offer to buy the majority of shares of the $3.4 billion-asset Mechanics. The investment — the first from the group's $755 million Ford Financial Fund II — is intended to give the veteran team a beachhead to enter the West Coast's increasingly competitive bank M&A market.

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