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Baldwin leaving helm at Southern Bancorp

NORTH MISSISSIPPI — The board of directors of Southern Bancorp Inc., (SBI) and Phil Baldwin, the financial institution’s president and CEO, have announced Baldwin’s intention to retire from the organization after a transition to new management.

Walter Smiley, chairman of the SBI board, will serve as chairman and interim CEO of Southern Bancorp Inc., the holding company for SBI’s community development bank and nonprofit affiliates.

Scott Fife has been promoted to president and CEO of Southern Bancorp Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBI.

Tanya Wright will continue to serve as group president of SBI heading up the SBI non-profit affiliates.

Baldwin will remain at Southern for several months to ensure a seamless transition to new management. Baldwin, who joined Southern in April 2000, said he is retiring to slow down, spend more time with his family and pursue philanthropic interests.

Smiley helped establish Southern Bancorp and has served on the board since its founding in 1986. He was founder, chairman and CEO of Systematics Inc., a financial data processing software company.

Fife, president of Southern Bancorp Bank’s El Dorado, Ark., market, joined Southern in June 2009 with more than 20 years of banking experience. Fife will manage all banking operations for Southern Bancorp. Prior to joining Southern, Fife served as president of Simmons First National Bank in El Dorado.

Wright joined Southern in Jan. 2010 from Heifer International, where she served as global executive vice president.

Southern Bancorp, based in Arkadelphia, Ark., offers 16 locations in Mississippi.

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