Paul A. Perrault is set to become the chief executive officer of Brookline Bancorp Inc. in Massachusetts this spring.

The $2.6 billion-asset Brookline announced late Thursday that Perrault will succeed Richard P. Chapman, who is retiring after 35 years.

Perrault was the CEO of Chittenden Corp. in Burlington, Vt., from 1990 until it sold in January of last year. People's United Financial Inc. in Bridgeport, Conn., bought the $7.4 billion-asset Chittenden, which had 140 branches in five states, for $1.9 billion.

Perrault also had a brief stint this year as president and CEO of Sovereign Bancorp Inc. in Philadelphia, before its purchase by the Spanish banking giant Banco Santander SA.

Perrault will become president of Brookline Bancorp and chairman and CEO of its Brookline Bank, effective March 16. He will become CEO of the parent company April 16, the date of the quarterly board meeting.

Chapman will remain chairman of Brookline Bancorp and a director of both the parent company and the bank.

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