Popular, the largest bank based in Puerto Rico, has shaken up its management ranks by naming a new CEO and moving its longtime CEO into a new role as executive chairman.

The $40.3 billion-asset company announced Tuesday that President and Chief Operating Officer Ignacio Alvarez will succeed CEO Richard Carrion as CEO on July 1. Carrion will shift to a new role as executive chairman, where he will focus on mergers and acquisitions, investments in technology and innovation and other strategic initiatives. The company said in a news release that Carrion would remain in that role for three years and then transition to nonexecutive chairman.

Popular CEO Richard Carrion
Richard Carrion was named president of Popular in 1985 and became CEO in 1991. Through a series of acquisitions he has built Popular into Puerto Rico's largest bank.

“After 26 years as CEO, I am ready, Ignacio is ready, and the organization is ready, for a new leadership structure.” Carrion said in the news release. “As President and COO, Ignacio has proven his strength as a leader, delivering positive results in our Puerto Rico business despite challenging conditions and overseeing the repositioning of our operations in the United States, all while demonstrating a deep understanding of our organization’s culture and earning the respect of employees at all levels. I am confident that Popular will continue to thrive under his direction, and I look forward to continue working closely with him in this new chapter.”

Alavarez joined Popular in 2010 as chief legal officer and was promoted to president and COO in 2014. In the news release he said, “I undertake this new role with a deep sense of responsibility, grateful to be able to count on Richard’s continuing guidance and on the support of an outstanding management team.”

Carrion joined Popular in 1976, became its president in 1985 and has been CEO since 1991. In his more than three decades in C-suite roles he oversaw acquisitions of several Puerto Rico-based banks, including its 2015 acquisition of Doral Bank, and its expansion in the mainland U.S. The bank has 52 offices in four U.S. states, including 35 in New York.

Popular also announced its first-quarter results on Tuesday. The company said it earned $92.9 million in the quarter, up 9.3% from the same period last year, due primarily to higher yields on loans and securities. It reported earnings per share of 89 cents, or 7 cents above consensus analysts' estimates, according to FactSet Research Systems.

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.
Alan Kline

Alan Kline

Alan Kline is a senior editor at American Banker overseeing its consumer finance and national/regional banking coverage. He also helps direct coverage of the annual Most Powerful Women in Banking rankings.