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Southside Bank names new CEO

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Tyler, Texas, (January 5, 2012) The Board of Directors of Southside Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: SBSI), today announced that Sam Dawson will become Chief Executive Officer of the Company effective January 5, 2012. Current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, B. G. Hartley, who served with distinction as Chief Executive Officer since the Company's inception, will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Southside Bancshares, Inc. and of Southside Bank, and will continue to have an office at the bank's headquarters.

Mr. Hartley said, "The Directors and I believe Sam is ideally suited to lead the Company. He has a long track record with both the Company and Southside Bank, serving as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company for 14 years. Sam has a successful history of building outstanding teams and executing our business plans. He has my unconditional support in this new role and I look forward to working closely with him in my continued role as Chairman. We have a seasoned staff and management team and anticipate many great years to come."

"Southside is home to incredibly talented people," Dawson pointed out, "and as a result of Bill Hartley's leadership, a valuable corporate culture is present. Mr. Hartley came to Tyler in 1960 to open the bank's door for business, and since that time Southside has grown into one of the premier financial institutions in Texas. Because of his commitment," Dawson continued, "Southside is positioned to take advantage of business opportunities available only to the soundest financial institutions. We are excited about the bank's future."


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