After 22 years, Barry Berthelot is leaving the banking industry. The 59-year-old Chase president announced his retirement this week; his last day will come sometime in early May. Berthelot has been at the pinnacle of the local banking industry since ascending to president of First National Bank of Lafayette in the mid-90s. Berthelot then became president of Bank One following its merger with First National and subsequently took the helm at Chase following its 2004 merger with Bank One. 

Berthelot says he first contemplated retirement five years ago. Now, he feels, the time is right to move on.  “I’m turning 60 years old this year,” Berthelot says. “It does make you start thinking a little bit about retirement and the rest of your life essentially. I’ve had a desire to move on and do some different things and it was really a matter of  'When are you going to do it and if you don’t do it now, when?'”

Known as a workaholic (he’s never taken off work two weeks in a row in his life), Berthelot says he is looking forward to taking more leisure and family time, but plans to remain active in the Lafayette business community. He says he is looking at possibly doing some consulting to assist small, family-owned businesses transition into second-generation companies.

“Our market is made up primarily of small and medium-size, family-owned businesses,” he says, “and one of the things I’ve seen over the years is the difficulty of transitioning from the founder to the next generation of management. I have an interest in looking at that and finding a way to help.”

But the veteran banker also is keeping his options open. “I’m still kind of thinking through it,” he says. “My first order is to finish up strong here and then kind of disconnect and get refreshed and look for opportunities. I’m open really to a lot of different things.”

Berthelot will be succeeded at Chase by Ed Hebert, who has put in 18 years in Chase’s Baton Rouge and Lafayette markets.

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