Quest and Questions

Associated Banc-Corp said Wednesday that its chairman and chief executive, Paul S. Beideman, will step down by early next year and that it has hired a search firm to find his successor.

Beideman's departure had been anticipated, but the news renewed succession-planning questions that were first raised when his heir apparent, Lisa Binder, abruptly resigned in May. Binder had been president, chief operating officer and a board member and had been widely expected to succeed Beideman.

The Green Bay, Wis., company said it expects to name its new CEO by yearend. Beideman will step down as director, chairman and CEO once the hire is made, though he will stay on to assist the transition until Feb. 1.

David George, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co., said the turnover could be a distraction for the $24 billion-asset Associated as it seeks to return to profitability.

"This departure is a modest negative," George wrote in a research note. "Leadership changes present another internal challenge as [the company] tries to manage rising commercial credit costs and revenue pressure."

Y Not, It's Nearby

Vikram Pandit has been hopscotching the globe this year, delivering a lecture at the London School of Economics, participating in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, and traveling on business to Singapore. Next month the Citigroup Inc. chief executive will face an audience right in his company's own backyard.

Pandit is scheduled to join BusinessWeek Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler onstage Sept. 17 at the 92nd Street Y as part of the famed New York forum's "Captains of Industry" lecture series. Expect Pandit to broadly discuss the changes in the financial industry since the collapse of Lehman Brothers a year ago.

And yes, that's the same 92nd Street Y where former Citigroup boss Sanford Weill once tried to pull strings to help a former employee, telecom analyst Jack Grubman, get his children admitted to the center's highly regarded preschool.

Big-League Jump

BB&T Corp. has tapped its farm system, promoting a director of its main bank to join its corporate board.

Litt Glover, an Atlanta lawyer and commercial real estate developer, was added to the Winston-Salem, N.C., company's board after 10 years as a director of its Branch Banking and Trust Co. unit.

John Allison, BB&T's chairman, said the company called Glover up largely on account of his lengthy experience with BB&T. "He clearly knows our organization well," Allison said in a news release. "By the same token, we've gotten to know and respect him very much as well."

Glover, 66, is the second director to join the 19-member board in the last three months. Tom Skains, the CEO of Piedmont Natural Gas, joined BB&T's board in June.

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