Suffolk Bancorp (SUBK) in Riverhead, N.Y., is continuing to reinvent its management team.

The company said Thursday that it had hired James Gay as its chief credit officer. He succeeds Karen Hamilton, who will retire in early March and transition to a "financial advisory role," the $1.6 billion-asset company said Thursday.

Gay was the president and chief credit officer at the $216 million-asset National Bank of New York City in Flushing and has held senior posts at Gold Coast Bank, Signature Bank and Citibank.

"I am very grateful to Karen for her extraordinary performance during a challenging period for the company," Howard Bluver, Suffolk's president and chief executive, said in a press release. "The fact that we were able to aggressively put the legacy credit issues behind us in 2012 is due in no small part to Karen's efforts."

After a difficult 2011, when Suffolk took losses on real estate loans and delayed reporting some of its financial results, the company appointed several new executives last year. It hired Bluver as CEO in January 2012 and brought in Brian Finneran as its chief financial officer, a post that had been vacant since June 2011. In March, Hamilton was promoted from chief lending officer to the newly created position of chief credit officer, and Michael Orsino became the chief lending officer.

Last year, Suffolk also raised $25 million through a private placement with unidentified institutional investors and sold a portfolio of nonperforming and classified assets.

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