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First Niagara adds Florio to boards

First Niagara Financial Group has named Carl A. Florio to the boards of directors of both the holding company and its bank subsidiary, fulfilling a commitment made a year ago.

Florio, former president and CEO of Hudson River Bancorp until its purchase by First Niagara in early 2005, served as regional president in Eastern New York for First Niagara after the purchase.

Florio will be proposed for election by shareholders at the 2009 annual meeting.

The appointment was made under a formal agreement filed by the company with federal regulators on Feb. 20, 2008, following multiple requests by Florio and two other former Hudson River directors to be added to the First Niagara boards.

Perceiving what appeared to be a coordinated move, First Niagara officials decided to head off possible problems by agreeing to appoint Florio to fill the spot being vacated by Dan Hogarty, who is retiring.

In exchange, all three Hudson River representatives agreed not to engage in a proxy fight, not to buy more than 4.9 percent of First Niagara's stock, not to seek a merger and not to seek control or influence over the company.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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