Without the usual arm twisting that has accompanied his previous attempts to control community banks and thrifts, activist shareholder Lawrence B. Seidman has been selected to become chairman of Ambanc Holding Co., of Amsterdam, N.Y.

Mr. Seidman, who was granted a seat on the $706 million-asset thrift in March 2000, will succeed retiring chairman Lauren T. Barnett, 74, on May 18, the company said last week. As chairman, Mr. Seidman said he would continue to use a strategy that has helped him succeed in forcing the sale of four of the six companies he has lead proxy fights against since 1995.

“I’m looking to do the same thing I do with every investment--maximize the value of what I own,” said Mr. Seidman, who said he will work to “maximize earnings so we can do either an acquisition or a sale.”

John M. Lisicki, Ambanc’s president and chief executive, said the Mr. Seidman’s “expertise” could be very valuable. “The sense of the board was that given Larry’s knowledge of the investment community and awareness of issues throughout the industry he is a good choice,” said Mr. Lisicki, who will become chairman of Ambanc’s Mohawk Community Bank.

Mr. Seidman will head the board on which fellow activist Seymour Holtzman also sits. Mr. Holtzman, who forced his way on the board in 1999, called Mr. Seidman “a very experienced” and “smart guy.”

Ambanc also announced last week that it plans to expand in the capital district by opening up to seven branches in the next three years.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.