Simms to retire in April as Whitney Bank Chairman

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Drawing a close to 54 years in the financial industry, Bill M. Simms, Whitney Bank's Butler County Chairman, will retire April 2000.

His banking career spans five decades in as many cities. In fact, he was inducted into the Alabama Bankers Association's Half Century Club in May 1997. From his humble beginnings as a runner for Mobile's First National Bank,

Simms' career advanced through the years to his current position. After approximately five years in Biloxi, Miss., he returned to Alabama in 1979 where he accepted a position as executive vice president of The First National Bank of Greenville (FNB). He became FNB president and chief operations officer in 1981, and in 1991 he was elected president and CEO. In 1996, Simms became vice chairman and CEO of FNB and the First National Bancorp of Greenville, Inc., FNB's holding company.

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When Whitney Bank acquired FNB in August 1998,

Simms maintained his position as Butler County Bank Chairman. Other than his two years of service in the U.S. Army, Simms has focused his career in the financial industry, particularly in providing quality service for bank customers.

"Bill has been an outstanding banker and community leader for over five decades," said John Turner, Whitney Alabama Bank President. "During this time he has been dedicated to providing superior service to his customers and an excellent return for his shareholders. Bill has set an outstanding example for all of his coworkers. His leadership and friendship will be missed when he retires."

Simms recently announced his forthcoming retirement, and plans to remain in Butler County with his wife, Ann. He is currently a member of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, the L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, the Greenville Rotary Club and the First United Methodist Church.

Butler County President Joseph M. Watts, who was with FNB for 17 years before the bank's merger with Whitney, will lead the staff through the transition.

"Joe is a very capable banker, and I have valued being associated with him," Simms said. "I know under his leadership and that of the other dedicated members of his staff, Whitney Bank will continue to grow and provide quality service our customers deserve."

"When Joe joined our bank in 1981 as Senior Vice President, he brought nine years of banking experience and has served as a very important member of our management team and Board of Directors during the ensuing years," Simms added. "Any CEO knows the value of being surrounded by a dedicated and capable staff, and I wish to thank each and every one of them."

Whitney Holding Corporation, which is traded on the NASDAQ exchange (WTNY), is the holding company for the wholly owned banking subsidiary Whitney National Bank with banking locations in the four-state Gulf Coast region including south Louisiana; the coastal region of Mississippi; Mobile, Greenville, Georgiana, Montgomery and the Alabama Gulf Coast region; and the Pensacola area of Florida. The Whitney, which has been in continuous operation since 1883, has assets of approximately $5.2 billion.