John A. Allison will retire as chief executive of BB&T Corp. on Dec. 31, but he will continue as chairman of the board of directors until Dec. 31, 2009.
Allison, 60, will be succeeded as CEO by chief operating officer Kelly S. King, the No. 2 executive at BB&T since 2004, the company said. King also has been elected to the board.
BB&T said Allison's decision to retire from the position that he has held since 1989 is the latest step in a five-year executive-transition plan at the North Carolina-based banking company that holds the fourth-largest share of Kentucky bank deposits.
Since 2003, six managers have joined the BB&T executive team, and four have retired or announced pending retirements.
King, 59, joined BB&T in 1972 and has been a member of its executive management team since 1983.
BB&T has $136.5 billion in assets and is the nation's 14th-largest financial holding company. The stock symbol is BBT.