Ayden R. Lee Jr., who has been at the helm of Four Oaks Bank for more than three decades, is stepping down as CEO of the Johnston County financial institution at the end of this month.
Lee, who will remain as executive chairman of the bank, will be succeeded as CEO by David H. Rupp, currently president and chief operating officer. It will be the third promotion for Rupp since he joined the bank 12 months ago. He previously was retail banking and mortgage vice president at VantageSouth Bank from 2012 to 2014 and was CEO of Greystone Bank from 2009 to 2011.
Four Oaks, which has 13 branches, announced the “management transition plan” aproved by its board of directors on Monday.
Lee, 66, said in a phone interview that Rupp was viewed as a potential CEO from the day he joined the bank.
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“He’s done a great job in the various roles here,” Lee said. “Each one of them, he was very successful, very effective.”
To be CEO, “you have to have the right analytical tools and good communication skills,” t Lee said. “He has all of those.”
Lee has been CEO since he joined the bank in 1980. He took on the role of chairman in 2006; he also was president until April, when Rupp was promoted to that role.
“I have enjoyed the almost 35 years,” Lee said. “It has gone by quickly. I have been surrounded by good people on the board, good staff members.”
Lee said he anticipates working fewer hours in his new role but will remain engaged with the bank. The bank’s announcement said he “will provide, among other things, strategic, governance, shareholder relations and risk management support and oversight” to the bank.
Founded in 1912, last year Four Oaks raised $24 million from investors to shore up its finances, something it had been trying to do for several years in the wake of the recession.
In the first quarter Four Oaks reported net income of $978,000, down from $1.4 million a year ago.
Shares of the bank’s corporate parent, Four Oaks Fincorp, were trading at $1.48, up 2 cents, Tuesday morning. Shares are down 3 percent this year but are well above their 52-week low of $1.11.