Sierra Bancorp in Porterville, Calif., has tapped an insider to succeed its retiring chief executive.

The $1.5 billion-asset company said in a press release late Thursday that Kevin McPhaill, Sierra's president and chief operating officer, will succeed James Holly, who will retire as CEO in March. Holly has been CEO for more than 36 years.

Holly will remain on the board and stay on all committees. He will also become vice chairman with oversight for merger-and-acquisition activities.

Sierra in July agreed to buy Santa Clara Valley Bank in Santa Paula, Calif., for $15.3 million.

Sierra has 25 branches and an online branch.

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