COLUMBUS, GA - Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) announced that its Board of Directors has elected Kessel D. Stelling as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.
As CEO, Stelling succeeds Richard E. Anthony, who took a medical leave of absence to seek treatment for Wegener's Syndrome in June. Stelling had previously served as President and COO and was elected Acting CEO on June 21 by Synovus' Board of Directors immediately following Anthony's diagnosis. Anthony will serve as Chairman of the Board.
"We are grateful for the foundation Richard built during his tenure as CEO and are pleased to welcome him back as Chairman," said James D. Yancey, Synovus' Acting Chairman of the Board. "Kessel has demonstrated exceptional talent and leadership throughout his impressive career in the banking industry, and we're fortunate to be able to name him to this key role. During his three months as Acting CEO, he has earned the confidence and support of the Board, executive leadership team and team members. He has done an outstanding job of leading the company on our path to emerge stronger and has energized team members in all of our markets with an unyielding focus on returning to profitability."
Stelling commented, "I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this great company, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Synovus Board, our leadership team and all of our team members as we execute our strategy for success. Under Richard's leadership, we successfully raised more than a billion dollars in new capital earlier this year and, in June, completed a transformational change in the company's charter structure – both significant achievements in Synovus' strategic plan for moving forward." Stelling continued, "My responsibility now is to build upon these recent successes, return Synovus to profitability as soon as possible and position us for long-term success."
"I am pleased with the progress of my recovery, but I believe it is a good time to make this transition," said Richard E. Anthony. "There is no better leader than Kessel Stelling to take over the CEO responsibilities for Synovus as we continue to manage through this historic time for our company. I am grateful to the Board of Directors for its support, especially during my illness over the past three months, and look forward to working with the Board to support our management team as they lead Synovus forward."
Stelling was elected President and Chief Operating Officer of Synovus in February 2010. From June 2008 until February 2010, Stelling served as the Regional Chief Executive Officer of Synovus' Atlanta area market. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of North Georgia (BNG), a division of Synovus Bank, having been appointed to that position in December 2006.
Stelling founded Riverside Bancshares, Inc. and Riverside Bank in 1996 and served as its Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer until 2006 when Riverside Bancshares, Inc. merged with and into Synovus and Riverside Bank merged with and into BNG. Prior to that time, Stelling worked in various management capacities in banking in the Atlanta region, having begun his career in the industry in 1974.
He serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents where he is Chairman of the Committee on Internal Audit, Risk and Compliance for a system of 35 universities and colleges. He also serves as a trustee or director for several civic and non-profit organizations including Kennesaw State University and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Stelling holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia and is a graduate of Louisiana State University School of Banking of the South. Stelling was named one of the "100 Most Influential Georgians" by Georgia Trend magazine in both 2009 and 2010.