ALBANY, N.Y. -- In his 18 years at the helm, Victor J. Riley Jr. has transformed KeyCorp into a national powerhouse and established himself as a larger-than-life character in the banking industry.

With his homespun charm and sometimes outlandish clothes, Mr. Riley logs nearly 120,000 miles a year in the company's corporate jet, preaching the gospel of geographic diversification. His speeches generally play to overflow crowds.

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