First Niagara seeks new CMO & CEO

Steve’s breakdown: This would be a great time for you to, very nonchalantly, introduce the agency. Plus if you can help them fill either of these positions, you’ve got a new client!

BUFFALO, NY: First Niagara Financial Group Inc., already in the midst of searching for a new president and chief executive officer, is now on the look-out for another top-level executive.

Avi Patel, former chief marketing officer, vacated the position in May to take a similar job with Fulton Financial Corp. in Lancaster, Pa. Patel is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

Patel was hired by First Niagara in 2011 as senior vice president and director of the bank’s retail product development and management group. He served as interim CMO before being named permanently to the position in late 2012.

First Niagara spokesperson David Lanzillo said the search for Patel’s successor is underway. He did not say if the financial services firm has identified candidates for the position.

“We have initiated a search for a new CMO and we are fortunate to have a strong, talented marketing team that isn’t missing beat in the interim,” Lanzillo said.

First Niagara (NASDAQ: FNFG) is the Buffalo parent company of First Niagara Bank. Former president and CEO John Koelmel was terminated from his job in March.

Gary Crosby, the bank’s chief administrative and operations officer, was appointed interim CEO. The bank has said it will provide an update on the CEO search as part of its July second-quarter earnings release.


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