There has been a major shakeup in the top management team at Synovus, a Columbus-based financial services company.
President Fred Green III, the company’s second in command, resigned from his job, the company announced Thursday morning. The company declined to give a reason for Green’s sudden departure, but did say that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Anthony will assume the president’s duties.
Green came to Synovus’ Columbus corporate office in 2006. A South Carolina native, he joined the company in 1995 when Synovus acquired The National Bank of South Carolina, where he was employed.
“The Synovus family is grateful to Fred for the service he has offered over the past 14 years, and we wish him the very best as he pursues the next stage of his career,” Anthony said in a prepared statement. “I am confident that the foundation he has helped build will continue the work of positioning Synovus to emerge stronger from today’s challenging economic environment.”
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The company gave no reason for Green’s departure, but spokesman Greg Hudgison said it was “Fred’s decision to resign and move on to another chapter in his career.”
Synovus has not paid Green a severance package, but that “due to Fred’s long career in the financial services industry, we are entering into a consulting agreement,” Hudgison said.
Green’s annual cash compensation was $562,100, according to company filings. His total package, including stock options, topped $1.3 million.Green did not return a phone message left at his Midland home.
Green’s departure comes at a challenging time for Synovus, which owns 30 banks with 336 offices in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.
In the first quarter of this year, Synovus posted a net loss of $136.7 million, 46 cents per share. The loss was blamed on the struggling housing market that led to increased non-performing loans.
A year earlier, Synovus had posted a profit of $81 million.
In March, Synovus eliminated 200 jobs company wide in a cost-reduction effort. About 75 of those jobs were in Columbus.
Once the latest 200-employee downsizing is completed next month, Synovus will have reduced its total work force from 7,275 people in June 2008 to 6,577. An initial round of 650 companywide job cuts won’t be completed until 2010, the company has said.
In April, Synovus had announced it would be putting a call center in South Carolina. That decision came at a time the company was cutting jobs in Columbus and throughout the operation.
Prior to coming to Columbus, Green spent six years as president and chief executive officer of The National Bank of South Carolina. He holds undergraduate and masters degrees from the University of South Carolina.
“A team of people from across the company continues to look at the best way to manage our call center structure given the current environment,” Hudgison said. “Any decision regarding our call center structure is unrelated to today’s leadership change.”