South Financial Group Inc. of Greenville, S.C., said Tuesday that Mack Whittle would retire as chairman, president, and chief executive officer by yearend.

Mr. Whittle, 58, would continue to serve on the company's board through the duration of his elected term, which expires in 2011.

Mr. Whittle founded the $14.6 billion-asset South Financial in 1986. The company said the board has appointed a committee to oversee a nationwide search for Mr. Whittle's successor.

Citing credit-quality issues, South Financial reported a second-quarter net loss of $16.8 million, or 23 cents per diluted share.

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