PNC Financial Services Group Inc., the second-biggest U.S. regional bank, elected William S. Demchak chairman today to replace James E. Rohr, who previously announced his retirement.

The election by the bank's board leaves Demchak, 51, as chairman, president and chief executive officer, Pittsburgh- based PNC said today in a statement. Demchak joined in 2002 as chief financial officer and was named CEO a year ago, succeeding Rohr, 65. The board's vote followed PNC's annual shareholders meeting in Tampa, Florida.

Demchak has cut expenses including jobs and branches to boost profit. First-quarter net income climbed 6.5 percent to $1.06 billion as costs declined and the company set aside fewer provisions for soured loans. PNC has gained almost 9 percent this year, making it the best performer in the 24-company KBW Bank Index, which is up less than 1 percent.

Demchak also serves on the board of BlackRock Inc., the world's largest asset manager. PNC is BlackRock's No. 1 shareholder with a 21 percent stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Before he joined PNC, Demchak was the global head of structured finance and credit portfolio at JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank.

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