Phillip Flynn, the president and chief executive officer of Associated Banc-Corp, plans to retire from the Green Bay-based bank at the end of 2021, the company announced Thursday.
Associated’s board has started a search process that will consider internal and external candidates for a replacement. Flynn will stay with the bank until a successor is in place. He will then step down from both roles and the company’s board but will remain available to the new CEO in an advisory capacity.
Jay Williams, chairman of Associated’s board, thanked Flynn for his leadership and contributions.
“Under his watch, Associated Bank instituted a strong customer-focused strategy that has delivered consistent profitability and positions the company for long-term, sustainable success,” Williams said.
Flynn's retirement agreement with the bank calls for him to serve as a special advisor to the new CEO through Dec. 31. His compensation package will remain the same with a $1.25 million base salary and eligibility for certain bonuses.
Pointing to Flynn's "extensive business relationships in the communities and customer base the company serves," Associated will pay Flynn $700,000 per year through 2024 to provide consulting services to the bank and serve as an ambassador. The payment also accounts for an agreement to not compete with the bank or solicit its customers through the end of 2024.
Flynn joined Associated in December 2009 as president and chief executive officer after a nearly 30-year career at Union Bank in California. He called his 11-year tenure an honor.
“During that time, our company recovered from the Great Recession and focused relentlessly on providing our customers with outstanding service. Our bank proved itself again last year, through the incredible efforts of our more than 4,000 colleagues. We have made great strides in achieving our goal of becoming one of the Midwest’s premier financial services companies,” Flynn said.
His tenure included a growing presence in Milwaukee for the bank. Associated bought the Milwaukee Center at 111 E. Kilbourn Ave. in 2016. The 28-story, 374,000-square-foot office tower was renamed as the Associated Bank River Center.
The bank’s market share in metro Milwaukee grew from 4.7% in June 2009, shortly before Flynn joined Associated, to 8.3% as of June 2020. In mid-2019, the bank’s market share in the metro was nearly 9.6%, according to FDIC data. Figures for the entire Milwaukee 7 region are similar but slightly lower.
Statewide, Associated went from 9.2% market share in 2009 to 11.5% in 2019 and 10.5% in 2020, according to the FDIC data.
Part of the gain in metro Milwaukee came from the $482 million acquisition of Brown Deer-based Bank Mutual Corp. in 2018.