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Wilbur Ross-Backed Sun Bancorp Jumps Most Since July on CEO Hire

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Sun Bancorp Inc., the New Jersey lender backed by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, climbed the most since July after the firm hired Thomas M. O’Brien as chief executive officer.

Sun Bancorp gained 7.7 percent to $3.76 at 10:23 a.m. in New York, the most in the 503-company Russell 2000 Financial Services Index. The shares have increased 21 percent in the past year.

O’Brien, the former CEO of State Bank of Long Island, will take the helm of the Vineland-based Sun Bancorp as long as regulators approve, the lender said today in a statement. The review by the Federal Reserve and U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is “typical,” said Heather Hardwick, a Sun Bancorp spokeswoman.

O’Brien will serve as a consultant to the bank’s board of directors until the regulators agree to his hiring, the firm said. He’s a director at Miami Lakes, Florida-based BankUnited Inc., which has branches in New York.

Sun Bancorp, which has $3.1 billion in assets, ousted former CEO Thomas X. Geisel in December. The bank reported a net loss of $10.1 million last year, and the shares declined 75 percent since the end of 2007 through yesterday.

O’Brien will help lead “a new era of operational stability, growth and profitability,” Chairman Sidney R. Brown said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Dexheimer in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at Steven Crabill

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