Jay Sidhu, chairman and chief executive officer of mortgage lender Sovereign Bancorp, Rosemont, Pa., resigned from the thrift late Tuesday after a marathon board meeting.Spanish banking giant Banco Santander owns about 25% of the company. An active shareholder has been pushing for changes at the thrift. The board named Joe Campanelli as an interim successor to Mr. Sidhu. (Mr. Campanelli is president of the lender's New England division.) Sovereign is a top-50-ranked residential lender, and the nation's fourth-largest thrift based on its holdings of single-family loans. The lender issued a statement saying Mr. Sidhu "resigned and retired," citing "family health related reasons." In a research note, Sandler O'Neill said a sale of the company "is probably not in the offing," adding that it is an underperformer compared with its peers. Sovereign's shares were up 1% as of MortgageWire's deadline.

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