Synovus Financial Corp. of Columbus, Ga., said it has realigned its top management, giving more authority to the chief of its bank in Albany, Ga.

Walter "Sonny" Deriso Jr., president and chief executive officer of Security Bank and Trust, is being promoted to vice chairman of the $8.3 billion-asset holding company.

Mr. Deriso, 50, joined Synovus in 1991 after practicing law for more than 18 years. He's succeeding Joe Beverly, 55, who is retiring as vice chairman Dec. 31.

Mr. Beverly announced his retirement plan earlier in the year. Synovus said it has since been evaluating how best to rebuild its internal bank reporting structure.

Along with the promotion of Mr. Deriso, Synovus has made several other changes:

*Security Bank and Trust executive vice president Mark Davis will replace Mr. Deriso as president of Security Bank and Trust.

*Synovus executive vice president and treasurer Thomas Prescott has been promoted to chief financial officer of the parent company. Mr. Prescott takes over from Synovus president Stephen Burts Jr., who remains president and is taking on expanded supervisory responsibilities for many Synovus affiliate companies.

*Vice chairman Richard Anthony will also assume more authority over Synovus affiliates.

Synovus operates 34 banks in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.

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