COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Ron Seiffert, a longtime local banking executive who had just returned to Central Ohio after a five-year absence, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, according to a press release from the bank he led.

Seiffert, CEO of Northwest Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq:NWBI), was 65 and died from natural causes, the bank said.

CFO Bill Harvey Jr. , also senior executive vice president, was appointed interim CEO by the board in an emergency meeting Tuesday, following the bank’s succession plan. With the bank since 1996, Harvey will continue CFO duties.

“Ron had a vision and set the strategic direction of the companies and we intend to carry this vision forward,” Harvey said in the release. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve alongside Ron. He was an extraordinary banker, citizen and friend. He had a belief in the bank’s future as a successful, independent financial institution.”

Tim Fannin, lead director, was named interim chairman.

Northwest first opened a mortgage service center at Easton in 2019, and over the past year built out its corporate headquarters in Columbus.

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