Peoples Bancorp CEO to retire

The leader of Newton-based Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina will retire at the end of next year.

Tony Wolfe, who has served as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the company since 1993, announced Wednesday he will retire in the fourth quarter of 2012.

"The bank is performing well, and it has a strong leadership team in place," Wolfe said in a press release. "I want to spend additional time with my wife and family, do some traveling and pursue other hobbies and interests. All things considered, now seems like a good time to begin planning for a new phase of our lives."

Peoples Bancorp, which opened with a single bank in 1912, now operates 18 Peoples Banks in Catawba, Lincoln, Alexander, Mecklenburg and Iredell counties. The company also operates four Latino banking offices in Union, Mecklenburg and Wake counties.

"I've been privileged to help grow the bank since 1993 and that has been exciting and fulfilling work," Wolfe said.

"We've been able to preserve better-than-average levels of capital and maintain our status as a well-capitalized bank," he continued. "We have grown significantly in core savings and checking deposits."

Wolfe is the company's ninth CEO since 1912. Among other new ventures during Wolfe's leadership, the bank has added 13 offices and a new headquarters building in Newton, said Robert C. Abernethy, chairman of the Peoples Bancorp Board of Directors.

"Tony Wolfe has been an effective and dedicated leader for Peoples Bank," Abernethy said. "He will surely be missed."

In a search for Wolfe's successor, the board of directors will consider candidates inside and outside the company, Abernethy said.

"This approach will allow us the opportunity to throughly search the market for the appropriate individual to take the company to the next level," Abernethy said. "We're anticipating the new CEO will be in place in sufficient time to effect a smooth transition for the benefit of shareholders, customers and employees."

Wolfe recently received the 2011 Charles R. Corriher Vocational Service Award, the highest award presented by the Newton-Conover Rotary Club. He was also named Lenoir-Rhyne University Business Leader of the Year in 2011.