Magazine article American Banker

Declaring the Fire's out, Turnaround Ace Leaves Post

Magazine article American Banker

Declaring the Fire's out, Turnaround Ace Leaves Post

Article excerpt

The man credited with overhauling Philadelphia's struggling Regent National Bank left his post on Monday, saying the bank no longer needs him.

John J. Lyons, considered one of the community banking industry's top turnaround artists, stepped down as Regent's president and chief executive officer after six months on the job, saying he had made good on his pledge to set things right within that time.

"My firefighting duties are over," Mr. Lyons said in an interview last week. "The fire is out."

But there is still some cleanup work to be done at the $210 million asset bank, which lost more than $2 million last year because of a failed venture into automobile insurance premium finance.

Mr. Lyons has turned over the reins to Robert Goldstein, whom he calls a "long-term firefighter." Mr. Goldstein most recently transformed once ailing Lafayette American Bank and Trust Co. into a lucrative acquisition target. The Bridgeport, Conn., bank was bought by New Jersey's Hubco last year.

But Mr. Goldstein said a sale is not the goal for Regent.

"At this point, what we'd like to do is really build Regent," he said. "Regent has a tremendous opportunity in Philadelphia."

John Carusone, president of the Bank Analysis Center in Hartford, Conn., credited Mr. Goldstein for doing "an outstanding job at Lafayette American. I've confidence in Bob (Goldstein) being a good choice as a replacement."

Mr. Lyons, a former FDIC examiner and bank consultant, was hired six months ago to fix the mess left by Regent's auto premium finance business, which he described as "out-of-control. …

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