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PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Berkshire Bank’s holding company, has appointed a new independent chairman for its board of directors to replace retiring Pittsfield native Lawrence A. Bossidy.

William J. Ryan, who served as chairman of the board and CEO of TD Banknorth from 1989 to 2007, will replace Bossidy, who had chaired the board since 2002, and served as Berkshire’s lead independent director for the last two years.

"We have prospered under Larry’s leadership and are grateful for his long and distinguished service to the company," said Berkshire Bank President and CEO Michael P. Daly in a statement. "With Bill, we are joined by another outstanding business leader to serve in his position.

"Bill and I share a vision of the attractive prospects for a strong regional bank in our footprint and I look forward to working with him to achieve this vision," Daly said.

Ryan, 70, is also a director of Unum Group, a leading employee benefit and disability company, where he has served as board chair since October 2011. Ryan is the director of Wellpoint, Inc., a leading health benefits company, and majority owner of the Maine Red Claws, a National Basketball Asso-
ciation Development League team that is affiliated with the Boston Celtics.

He also serves as a trustee of the Libra Foundation, and serves on the board of advisors at the University of New England.

Ryan said he has been following the events of Berk-
shire’s growth and progress for several years, and has come to know Daly’s leadership and strategic direction in building the bank’s brand and culture.

"I truly was excited at his invitation to take the position of independent chair that Larry Bossidy commanded for so many years," he said.

Berkshire’s franchise is positioned in markets that he already knows.

"I’m convinced that we will forge ahead to achieve our objectives to gain market and wallet share, and to deliver high performance financial result," Ryan said.

Bossidy, who turned 79 in March, is the former chairman and CEO of both Honeywell International Inc. and Allied-
Signal. He has also served as the COO of General Electric Credit; the president of GE’s Service and Materials Sector; and as vice chairman of GE. In addition to Berkshire, Bossidy has served on the boards of Merck & Co. Inc.; J.P. Morgan Chase; and K&F Industries Holdings.

"I’m glad to have been part of this growing franchise and I anticipate a bright future for this team in delivering results to the markets and investors that Berkshire serves" Bossidy said.