Synovus Financial Corp. has promoted the chief executive at one of its biggest banks to become the Columbus, Ga., company's president and chief operating officer.

Kessel Stelling Jr. began the new post immediately, taking over duties that were being handled by Synovus' chairman and CEO, Richard Anthony. Stelling was a regional CEO and the president and CEO of Bank of North Georgia. Anthony had been acting as president since May when Frederick Green 3rd resigned, though the company had been actively searching for a replacement without the interim tag.

Donald Howard will succeed Stelling as regional CEO for Atlanta and run Bank of North Georgia. The $33 billion-asset Synovus is consolidating to a single bank charter. The process is expected to be completed this year.

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