CHARLESTON, S.C., May 11, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Financial Holdings, Inc. ("First Financial" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:FFCH), the holding company for First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Charleston ("First Federal" or the "Association"), announced today that R. Wayne Hall was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of First Financial and Chief Executive Officer of First Federal. Mr. Hall succeeds A. Thomas Hood in these positions. In addition, Blaise B. Bettendorf was appointed Chief Financial Officer of First Financial and First Federal. The changes were made in accordance with the Company's succession plan and are effective immediately. Mr. Hall had served as the Principal Financial and Accounting Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the Company since May 2007 and as First Federal's Chief Operating Officer since July 2009. Ms. Bettendorf joined the Company in January 2010 and prior to her appointment as Chief Financial Officer had served as Chief Accounting Officer of the Company and First Federal. Mr. Hood will continue to serve as President of First Federal and as a director of the Company and First Federal. "Tom's leadership and dedication are evident in the success the Company and First Federal have experienced during his 35 years with the Company. He was instrumental in taking First Federal public in 1983 and in the success the Company has enjoyed since going public," stated Paula Harper Bethea, the Chairman of the Board of both companies. "His dedication, vision and guidance have helped us build a strong, successful financial institution and we are forever grateful for his leadership. The rest of the directors and I are very excited about our transition plans as we anticipate Tom's retirement in June 2011, and that Wayne is assuming these additional responsibilities at the Company and First Federal as part of this transition plan. We are excited to watch Wayne continue in his strong leadership of our organization and to implement his team's operating and strategic plans."