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First Niagara restructures leadership team

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. has restructured its executive committee and has launched a national search for a new president, the Buffalo-based financial institution said Thursday.

The president will lead First Niagara’s retail and commercial banking, as well as marketing.

Gary Crosby, hired in July 2009 as chief administrative officer, has been named to the new position of chief operating officer.

Elizabeth Bauman, who joined the bank in May 2008 as head of human resources and most recently has been chief financial officer for personal financial services, replaces Crosby as chief administrative officer.

In addition to Crosby and Bauman, the executive committee includes Michael Harrington, chief financial officer; Daniel Cantara III, executive vice president for commercial business; Lanier Little, executive vice president for retail banking; and the bank president.

The executive committee will report to First Niagara CEO John Koelmel, who will perform the duties of president until the position is filled later this year.

The restructuring is needed to support the bank’s growth, which has doubled in less than one year to $19 billion in assets and 254 branches in New York and Pennsylvania, officials said.

First Niagara expects to have nearly $14 billion in deposits and 4,000 employees once it completes its acquisition of Harleysville National Corp. in suburban Philadelphia. The bank entered the Pennsylvania market last year with the acquisition of 57 National City Bank branches in the western end of the state.

(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail [email protected].



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