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AgFirst announces retirements, restructures management team

Banking & Finance
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AgFirst Farm Credit Bank is restructuring its management team as two of its senior vice presidents prepare to retire.

WilsonButlerChief Information Officer Benjamin F. Blakewood, Chief Credit Officer Christopher L. Jones, along with three others and an ex-officio member that make up the bank’s Executive Committee – will retire from AgFirst on Dec. 31.

AgFirst CEO Tim Amerson on Tuesday announced several promotions and a new Senior Management Committee that will change the bank’s management structure.

“Long-term success depends on our organization’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances,” Amerson said. “These organizational changes allow us to fully engage our highly talented pool of employees for optimal success now and in the future.”

Changes as of April 1 include:

  • Charl L. Butler, currently senior vice president and chief financial officer, will become executive vice president and chief operating officer. Stephen Gilbert, who currently serves as a vice president and controller, will take Butler’s place as a senior vice president and chief financial officer.
  • Isvara M.A. Wilson, currently senior vice president and general counsel, will become executive vice president and chief administrative officer. Frances Griggs, who is currently a vice president and assistant general counsel, will become a senior vice president and general counsel.
  • Amerson, Butler and Wilson – along with ex-officio member Dan LaFreniere – will remain as the only members of the bank’s Executive Committee. Blakewood and Jones will continue to serve on the committee until their retirements.
  • A new Senior Management Committee will be formed that will consist of the members of the Executive Committee, as well as the chief financial officer, general counsel, chief information officer, chief credit officer and other leaders responsible for key bank functions.

“Ben and Chris have been an invaluable part of the AgFirst management team. Replacing them will be a formidable challenge,” Amerson said. “We all wish them a happy and peaceful retirement. Meanwhile, we believe the changes we are making now will allow AgFirst to continue to thrive.”

The Columbia-based bank, which is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, is currently conducting a formal search for their replacements.


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