AmSouth Bancorp has announced the departure of two of its top eight officers, amid a sweeping program to cut costs.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based company said senior executive vice presidents W. Michael Graves and A. Fox deFuniak 3d had resigned.

Most of both men's responsibilities were taken over by W. Charles Mayer 3d, AmSouth said Wednesday.

Mr. Graves had run AmSouth's trust and private banking operation and was head of its Alabama banking group; Mr. deFuniak was head of the Birmingham banking group.

Mr. Mayer, a senior executive vice president in charge of the company's Tennessee banking operations, will move to Birmingham to head the Alabama banking group and become city president of the Birmingham bank.

AmSouth chairman John W. Woods, in a telephone interview, denied that the changes were related to the cost-cutting program. Unveiled last month, it is to eliminate 1,000 jobs and 44 branches by yearend.

"The press release was factual," Mr. Woods said.

AmSouth's May 5 announcement said Mr. Graves had left "to address other pending business opportunities" and that Mr. deFuniak "elected to take early retirement." Neither Mr. Graves nor Mr. deFuniak could be reached for comment.

Other management changes announced this week include the promotions of:

*DeVan D. Ard Jr., senior vice president and head of loan evaluation, to succeed Mr. Mayer as chairman, president, and CEO of AmSouth Bank of Tennessee.

*Dan H. Carmichael, senior vice president and head of regional banking, to replace Mr. Ard.

*Vice president Sam M. Tortorici to succeed Mr. Carmichael.

"The company is constantly trying to rejigger its businesses to become more profitable," said Peter Tuz, an analyst at Morgan Keegan Inc., Memphis. "And I think part of that is emphasizing retail banking over more traditional corporate commercial banking."

Performance may also be an issue. Although most of AmSouth's recent earnings problems have been blamed on an expensive acquisition drive in Florida, the company's lead Birmingham bank reported mediocre numbers last year.

Return on assets for AmSouth Bank of Alabama was 0.94% in 1994, compared to between 1.33% and 1.40% for its three major competitors, according to Sheshunoff Information Services Inc.

During AmSouth's annual meeting with analysts in Birmingham this week, company executives confirmed press reports that it was trying to sell its bond trading operation. But Mr. Woods declined to comment further Wednesday.

AmSouth executives also predicted earnings would pick up in the third or fourth quarter. "The second half of the year should be much better than the first half," said Mr. Tuz, who attended the meeting.

AmSouth, which has $17.1 billion of assets, earned $40.1 million in the first quarter, flat with the year-ago period due to higher expenses. Full- year 1994 earnings of $127.3 million fell 13% from 1993's $146.7 million because of acquisition-related charges and securities losses.

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