The retirement of Craig Dahl, the Minnesota banker who helped build and then reshape TCF Financial Corp., as its chief executive came suddenly, surprising investors and analysts.
But Dahl said Tuesday that he felt it was the right time with the first phase of its merger with Detroit-based Chemical Financial complete.
"I've been involved in this nearly seven days a week for two years," said Dahl, 66, on a call with analysts. "Going through the succession planning and just trying to understand what would be the right time, there isn't really any time that would necessarily be better than others."
A company spokeswoman said Dahl was not available for an interview. On the conference call, Dahl said TCF, now based in Detroit, is in good hands with executives who will continue to follow through on the merger strategy.
He added that, while TCF was effective in managing working from home during the pandemic, it wasn't a great fit for his leadership style.
"It doesn't necessarily play to my strength, which is more in the markets and in the business and running town halls and things like that," said Dahl, who continued to live in the Twin Cities. "And then I've had some significant family considerations during this time as well."
He ticked off a list of milestones that they have already accomplished in the merger, including closing the deal ahead of schedule in August of last year, integrating systems and management teams, and more recently rolling out the TCF brand name to the Chemical Bank locations.
David Provost, former CEO of Chemical Financial, has been named to succeed Dahl.
Thomas Shafer, who also is from the Chemical Bank side, will become CEO of subsidiary TCF National Bank. And Michael Jones, an executive vice president who worked with Dahl at TCF for a decade before the merger, will be the president and chief operating officer.
"No one works harder than Craig," Provost said on the call. "It's been a great run and we give him a lot of credit to get us to this point."
TCF's shares fell 8% Tuesday after the company announced the leadership changes and mixed third-quarter results.
Dahl, who grew up in International Falls, spent 21 of his 40 years in the banking industry at TCF. He was named CEO in 2016 and continued as CEO after a so-called "merger of equals" with Chemical Financial.
TCF is Minnesota's third-largest bank by assets and revenue. While the company's headquarters moved to Detroit after the merger, it has continued to keep a large workforce in Minnesota, though there has been some consolidation.
It put its former headquarters in Wayzata up for sale earlier this year and has moved employees to another office in Minnetonka. It also has an office in Plymouth, which houses some of its technology and operations staff as well as a call center. In total, TCF employs nearly 2,400 people in Minnesota.
In an interview, newly promoted executives Shafer and Jones said TCF remains committed to the Twin Cities, noting that many other key executives continue to work out of its Minnesota offices and its name still graces the stadium at the University of Minnesota.
"The Twin Cities is critically important to us — so much so that we're about to name a regional president that we're hiring to come into the marketplace," Shafer said.
Building on the bank's strong retail presence in the region, TCF is looking to increase its business and commercial banking in the Twin Cities, as well as bringing its new wealth-management offering from the merger, they said.
Over the summer, following the killing of George Floyd, TCF committed $1 billion over five years in loans to minority- and woman-owned small businesses. The loans of up to $1 million each will be focused in the Twin Cities, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Grand Rapids and other parts of the Midwest where it operates.
TCF now has about 500 branches in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado, Ohio and South Dakota.