Washington Federal Chairman and Chief Executive Roy M. Whitehead will hand off his CEO duties to Brent Beardall this spring.

Beardall, 45, joined the $15 billion-asset company in 2001 and was named chief financial officer two years later. He seemed to be a likely candidate to succeed Whitehead after he was named chief banking officer in 2014 and then president last July.

"Washington Federal is very fortunate to have an executive with the talent, intellect, energy and authentically warm personality that [Beardall] brings to work every day," Whitehead said in a news release Wednesday. "He is the right person for the job, and the business will undoubtedly continue to thrive under his leadership."

Beardall will also join the Seattle company's board of directors.

Whitehead, 64, who has served as CEO since October 2000, isn't leaving management. He'll serve as executive chairman. The transition is scheduled to take effect April 1.

According to a proxy released Dec. 9, Whitehead's compensation totaled $3.25 million in 2016. Beardall earned $1.27 million.

Last month Washington Federal appointed Robert D. Peters, a longtime Bank of America executive, to serve as executive vice president and commercial banking group manager.

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