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BB&T's Allison to Retire at Year's End

The long-tenured chief also will give up his chairman title by the end of 2009, as part of a five-step succession plan.

BB&T Corp.'s

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longtime chairman and CEO John Allison plans to retire from his dual roles by the end of next year.

Allison, 60, plans to step down as CEO at the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company at the end of this year and from his role as chairman in December 2009. Allison, who has been CEO and chairman since 1989, will be succeeded by COO Kelly King, the bank's No. 2 executive. King, 59, has also been elected to the board of directors.

Allison's intended retirement is the latest in a five-step succession plan, the company says. Since 2003, six new executive managers have joined the executive team as four have retired or plan to retire. Chief credit officer Kendall Chalk's last day is Monday.

BB&T has been able to weather the current credit and housing crisis better than other Southern banks so far. While nonperforming assets and provision levels have increased, credit quality -- partly due to the bank's relatively conservative lending standards and a strong housing market in its home state -- has remained decent compared to other banking institutions, including North Carolina rivals


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Bank of America

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Still, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Chris Mutascio called the announcement somewhat surprising, given the current banking landscape.

"Given the current challenging operating economic environment that all banks are facing, we had thought that Mr. Allison might remain at the helm until the new generation of management became a bit more seasoned and/or until the end of the current credit cycle," Mutascio wrote in a note to clients.

Allison, who has worked at BB&T for 37 years, is the longest-serving CEO at the 25 largest financial holding companies in the nation, the company said.

Shares of BB&T, which dropped roughly 4% when the market opened as a result of the news, recently were up fractionally.