Synovus Financial Corp. needs a new heir apparent after the sudden departure of its president, Frederick Green 3rd.

The $34.5 billion-asset Columbus, S.C., company gave no reason Thursday for Green's resignation, which took effect immediately. Richard Anthony, Synovus' chairman and chief executive officer, was selected by the board to take over Green's duties, which included oversight of its more than two dozen banks in five states.

Kevin Fitzsimmons, an analyst at Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP, speculated in a note that the quick exit could be tied to the "disappointing pace" of selling nonperforming assets or in response to pressure from the board or regulators to improve Synovus' performance.

Green, 50, joined Synovus in 1995, when it bought National Bank of South Carolina, where he had been the president and CEO. Green, who was also the chief operating officer at Synovus, was viewed as a possible successor to Anthony, 62.

Last month Synovus reported its third straight quarterly loss, $136.7 million. Even though its loan-loss provision decreased 20% from the fourth quarter, to $290.4 million, its nonperforming assets increased 49.5%, to $1.75 billion.

On the heels of the company's first-quarter loss, Moody's Investor Service Inc.'s downgraded Synovus subordinated debt, along with the financial strength ratings for its banks. Standard & Poor's Corp. has also been evaluating the company for a possible downgrade.

Efforts to reach Anthony and Green for comment were not successful.

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