NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Peyton R. Patterson cited "personal matters" as she resigned as chief executive officer, president and board member at Bankwell, the New Canaan-based bank announced in a statement.
Chairman Blake S. Drexler will serve as executive chairman as Bankwell's board forms a search committee to find a new CEO, the statement said.
The board will consider internal and external candidates for the role. Once the search is complete, Drexler will return to his former role of non-executive chairman.
"I would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to Peyton for her significant contributions to the company during her tenure," Drexler said. "Peyton's leadership and dedication was a key component of our successful initial public offering, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors. One of her greatest legacies is the strong, experienced executive team she helped assemble. This will allow for a smooth transition of responsibilities without any disruptions to the business.
"I am confident the depth of our executive team, strong financial position and talented employees will ensure Bankwell continues on its upward trajectory."
Patterson said the decision to leave was hers.
"After careful consideration and discussions with the board, I have decided it is in the best interests of the company to resign from my positions," said Patterson, who lives in New Canaan. "I am incredibly proud of what we achieved during my time at Bankwell and did not want my personal matters to overshadow the accomplishments and hard work of our team. I am certain the company's comprehensive product offerings, strong financial position and experienced leadership will ensure its continued success."
She has come under fire recently due to her personal financial problems, according to the Hartford Business Journal . The Journal found that since September 2013, judges presiding over lawsuits by American Express and two private country clubs had ordered her to repay nearly $393,000 in debts, according to court records. Read more about those issues here at the Hartford Business Journal.
Drexler said the board is pleased with the performance of the bank, which recently acquired Quinnipiac Bank & Trust.
Bankwell has branches in New Canaan, Wilton, Stamford and Fairfield. For more information, visit www.mybankwell.com .