OceanFirst Financial (OCFC) in Toms River, N.J., announced Friday that its president and chief operating officer, Vito R. Nardelli, is stepping down at the end of August "to explore various professional and personal opportunities."

The $2.3 billion-asset company said in a news release that its chairman and chief executive, John R. Garbarino, will assume Nardelli's responsibilities until a replacement is found.

Nardelli, 62, joined OceanFirst in mid-2004 and has served as its COO since September 2005. He has been president of the company and its bank subsidiary since 2010, according to the company's most recent proxy filing.

Nardelli has more than 30 years of banking experience, including stints with the former First Union and the former Chase Manhattan Bank. He also served as the executive director of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority from 1991 to 1994.

"Vito Nardelli has served the company very well for the past eight years, and helped OceanFirst fulfill its mission of providing value to its stockholders through extraordinary community banking," Garbarino said. "We wish him well with his future endeavors."

OceanFirst has 24 branches in three counties on or near the New Jersey shore. It reported income of $11 million through the first half of 2012, up 8% from the same period last year. 

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