Thad Woodard is retiring as president and chief executive of the North Carolina Bankers Association.

Woodard, who is among the longest active-serving state association presidents, will step down at the end of this year. The association said in a press release that it has formed a search committee and hired a consulting firm to conduct the search for Woodard's successor.

The committee will review internal and external candidates in hopes of completing the process before the association's annual meeting on May 31.

"I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend nearly 37 years with the NCBA and am sincerely honored to have been entrusted with the leadership responsibilities for this outstanding organization," Woodard said in the release. "I am very proud of what both the NCBA and the banking industry have accomplished, together, during these decades of both successes and challenges."

Woodard has been the president of the North Carolina Bankers Association since its 1997 merger with the state's Community Bankers Association, which he had led since June 1978.

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