R. Buford Sears

R. Buford Sears

The president of KeyBank's Buffalo region will be retiring on March 29.

R. Buford Sears joined KeyBank as the Buffalo region president in 2016, following KeyCorp’s acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group, where he served in a similar role. According to a release, he was instrumental in efforts to integrate First Niagara’s local commercial and private banking lines of business into KeyBank while also ensuring growth and a smooth transition for clients and employees.

Gary Quenneville will assume the role of Buffalo region president while continuing in his role as regional sales executive for KeyBank. Quenneville has been with KeyBank his entire career, having joined the company in 1985 as a management associate. He subsequently held numerous positions with increasing responsibility within the retail, private bank, and commercial banking groups. Quenneville served as KeyBank’s Western New York District president prior to the First Niagara acquisition.

“Recently, Buford expressed his desire to retire to us and we are deeply grateful for the leadership, guidance and experience he brought to KeyBank, especially following our recent acquisition of First Niagara,” said Quenneville. “His career in banking here is legendary, along with his service to the community. All of us at KeyBank wish Buford and his family the best as he begins his well-deserved retirement."

Sears first joined First Niagara in 2010. In 1992, Sears came to Buffalo to join M&T Bank where he managed numerous specialty lines of business in the commercial bank, including health care, national, municipal and not-for-profit banking. Sears has a national profile as a health care banker and has served on the board of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care industries.

Sears is also active in the community.

For 27 years, he has served on the board of the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, where he chaired the board for two terms and currently is an Emeritus Trustee. He is also active at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where he has served on the Foundation and Governance boards (gubernatorial appointment) since 2000. Sears currently serves on the boards of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, First Niagara Foundation, WNY Impact Investment Fund and OmniSeq LLC. He previously served on the boards of Nichols School, Niagara Health Quality Commission and the Buffalo Health Care Task Force.

Following his retirement, Sears will continue to serve on KeyBank’s Western New York Advisory Board and the First Niagara Foundation Board of Directors.

Active in civic life, Quenneville serves on the boards of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, D’Youville College, Heritage Centers. Say Yes to Education, and the Buffalo Racial Equity Leadership Task Force.