Clarfeld | Citizens Private Wealth, a subsidiary of Citizens Bank, has tapped its co-chief operating officer, Rick Suarez, to succeed firm founder Rob Clarfeld as chief executive officer, according to a company press release

The appointment comes one year after Citizens Bank acquired Clarfeld, a wealth management firm serving high-net-worth families and institutions.

Rob Clarfeld will remain with the firm as executive chairman. In that role he will focus on strategic initiatives, brand stewardship and client service, the release said.

The 49-year-old Suarez is a longtime member of both Clarfeld's executive committee and investment policy committee. As COO, he is responsible for building and managing all aspects of the firm's investment advisory service for both U.S. and offshore clients.

Clarfeld said he and Suarez have worked together since 1996 when Suarez first joined the firm as a financial planner. “We are fully aligned in terms of our client-centric service philosophy and shared vision to create the industry's premier private bank. Rick is widely respected for his leadership and execution skills and I have complete confidence in his ability to steward the firm in the coming years,” Clarfeld said in a statement.

Under Suarez's leadership, Clarfeld | Citizens Private Wealth will expand and deepen the number of clients who benefit from its financial, tax and estate planning, family office, banking and trust services, the release said.

“I'm truly humbled that Rob and the management team at Citizens Bank have entrusted me with this important position,” Suarez said in a statement. “Rob has been a terrific mentor to me throughout my career and, along with my partners, I look forward to advancing the high-touch service model he has created.”

Robert A. Varriano, a 29-year veteran with the firm, will succeed Suarez as chief operating officer.