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Cadence CEO to step down after sale is complete

February 17, 2011

Cadence CEO Lewis F. Mallory Jr. will conclude a nearly 45-year career with the company after the financial institution's sale is complete, bank officials said in a statement this afternoon.
He first joined National Bank of Commerce – which became Cadence Bank in recent years – upon graduation from Mississippi State University in 1965.
He first became its president in 1974, then took over as CEO in 1978.
He assumed the chairmanship, retaining the CEO title, in 1993.
“I am honored to have served as Cadence’s Chairman and CEO for the past 17 years,” Mallory said in the statement.
During his time as CEO, Cadence grew from about $100 million in assets to more than $2 billion in holdings, growing from its original market in the Golden Triangle and other parts of northeast Mississippi into Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.
Mallory was also at the helm during the recent economic downturn and efforts to stabilize the bank's operations.
Cadence's stock lost value, and in January 2009, the financial institution sold $44 million in preferred stock to the U.S. Treasury.
Conditions were looking up as recently as early in 2010, when Mallory reported bank officials had had improved Cadence's "credit quality since last year which was highlighted by our lowest provision for loan losses in over two years," said Lewis F. Mallory, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Cadence Financial Corp.
Also in the first quarter of last year, the banking institution cut or reshaped up to 15 jobs after a review of operations.
However, the bank faced a deadline in late September to meet certain capital funding requirements.
Before the end of the month, the financial institution struck a merger deal with in-state bank TrustMark. Several weeks later, Cadence formally backed out of its deal with TrustMark to pursue an arrangement with Texas-based investment firm Community Bancorp, known as CBC.
Bank officials say the sale to CBC will take place in early March.
In Thursday's statement, bank officials say Cadence President Mark Abernathy will take over as CEO, and CBC President Paul Murphy will assume the role of Cadence's chairman.

Editor's note: Look for additional details on this story in Thursday's online and print editions of the Starkville Daily News.

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