Kenneth R. Murray, an executive vice president of Wells Fargo & Co., said he plans to retire in December.

In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Murray, 61, said he would leave the $205 billion-asset company to spend more time with his family.

"I've been traveling literally millions of miles, I'm about to turn 62, and I've got my first grandchild on the way," Mr. Murray said.

Mr. Murray, who is highly regarded in the industry, led the expansion of Norwest Corp. into the Rocky Mountain states and the Southwest during the 1990s. He also helped build the company's Texas operations into the fourth largest in that state.

Minneapolis-based Norwest merged with Wells Fargo of San Francisco last November.

Leslie S. Biller, Wells Fargo's chief operating officer, said of Mr. Murray, "In many ways he was the modern-day father of community banking in the former Norwest.

Mr. Murray, who joined Norwest in 1983, gave up his responsibility for the southwestern region before the merger, in an attempt to pare down his travel schedule. However, the merger required him to spend even more time away from home, he said.

No successor to Mr. Murray will be named. Instead, his responsibilities will be split up among several executives. The insurance unit will report to Terri A. Dial, group executive vice president; student lending will report to Richard T. Schliesmann, head of the auto finance group; and Small Business Administration lending will be overseen by Michael R. James, who is in charge of business banking.

-- Olaf de Senerpont Domis

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