NEW YORK -- Theodore H. Silbert, chairman and chief executive officer of Sterling Bancorp of New York, died on Tuesday.

Mr. Silbert, who was 87, died at his New York home of natural causes, according to natural causes, according to John C. Millman, president of Sterling National Bank and Trust Co.

Mr. Silbert was professionally active until the end of his life, promoting Sterling and its focus on small and middle-market businesses.

From Clerk to CEO

The banker started his career in 1929 as credit clerk at Broadway Bank and Trust Co., New York.

In 1932, Mr. Silbert formed Standard Financial Corp., a factoring company, which bought Sterling in 1968 and installed him as its chief executive officer.

In 1981, Mr. Silbert and Sterling established an annual award for accuracy in economic forecasting.

Succession Plan in Place

Funeral arrangements for Mr. Silbert were not ready to be announced on Tuesday, a spokesman at the bank said.

Louis J. Cappelli, 61, who was promoted recently to president of Sterling Bancorp, issued a statement that the company "intends to continue as it had under chairman Silbert."

The statement also said that Sterling would operate "in keeping with the succession plan approved earlier by the board of directors."

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