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First Niagara executive to leave firm

By THOMAS ADAMS - 1/10/2014 3:52:34 PM

First Niagara Financial Group Inc.’s chief banking officer, Daniel Cantara III, will leave by the end of February after 13 years with the company, representatives said Friday.

Cantara was promoted to executive vice president and chief banking officer in December 2012. He joined First Niagara in 2001 to oversee financial services businesses including insurance, benefits consulting and wealth management. He has led the commercial services group since 2007.

The chief banking officer position has been eliminated, representatives said. The bank has begun a search for an executive vice president of commercial financial services, they said.

“I thank Dan for his contributions and years of service to First Niagara,” President and CEO Gary Crosby said in a statement.

Cantara was thought to be a possible candidate to replace John Koelmel as president and CEO before Crosby was selected last month after serving on an interim basis since Koelmel departed in March 2013.

Cantara will receive $1.5 million in enhanced severance benefits over 18 months, and will be reimbursed up to $10,000 for costs related to outplacement services, the bank reported in a filing Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

He and Chief Financial Officer Gregory Norwood were granted temporary eligibility for enhanced severance benefits if they were let go within one year of a new CEO taking over.

First Niagara also announced that Inder Koul and Julie Signorille have been promoted to the bank’s executive board. Koul is executive vice president and chief information officer. Signorille is executive vice president and managing director of operations.

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