Arthur L. Silber, a 54-year-old developer, baseball team owner and banker, said yesterday that he will retire at the end of this week as president and chief executive of Sterling Bancorp, the Baltimore company he founded in 1985.
"I was not able to [tell employees] without breaking down a little bit," Mr. Silber said. "I kind of feel I gave birth to it."
Known for its niche in private banking services to wealthy customers, the bank, with assets of about $78 million, recently has been most in the news for a deal gone sour: a planned merger with Provident Bankshares Corp., parent of the Provident Bank of Maryland.
Provident ended the two companies' acquisition deal last year, saying that Sterling concealed problems in its loan portfolio. Sterling sued, contending Provident really wanted to break the deal because Provident's rising stock price had inflated the value of the promised all-stock buyout. The case was settled out of court, with Sterling accepting a $650,000 payment.
Mr. Silber said his retirement plan "was really the reason that we wanted to sell the bank in the first place. I told the board two or three years ago that I wanted to retire at 55."
Instead, the bank will search for a new chief executive as Michael B. Glick, executive vice president, runs the bank as acting president. Mr. Silber will concentrate on his real estate interests and his minor league baseball team, a Chicago White Sox affiliate in Prince William County, Va.