Yadkin Valley Financial Corp. of Elkin, N.C., said late Tuesday that it had named an insider to become its next president and chief executive.

Joseph H. Towell, 59, succeeded the retiring William A. Long Sr., 64, the company said in a press release. Long will remain at the $2.2 billion-asset Yadkin Valley as special counsel to the CEO until he retires July 31.

The change was largely expected since the company began implementing a succession plan last year. The announcement "does not surprise us all that much given the company's previous comments regarding its succession plan," Will Curtiss, an analyst at Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP wrote in a note to clients. "Still, the change comes at a challenging time for the company [as it] continues to work through elevated credit levels and the possibility of near-term capital raise."

Towell, who joined Yadkin Valley in 2008, was chief operating officer and president of the unit Yadkin Valley Bank and Trust Co.

The company also said that as CEO Towell will focus on navigating through the credit cycle, containing expenses, concentrating on consistent profitability and evaluating capital options.

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