NationsBank Corp. last week lost yet another executive in the high- yield and leveraged finance area to Societe Generale, bringing to seven the number who have made the leap.

The latest is Ian Hardington, who will be a managing director in media and communications leveraged finance, said a spokeswoman for the French bank. He will move to Societe Generale's New York office from Dallas and will start work April 14.

Late last month Brad Yates left NationsBank for Societe Generale to become a managing director in its high-yield capital markets group, working with leveraged buyout firms and other sponsors of buyouts.

First in the NationsBank group to leave for Societe Generale was Neil Parekh, who left last year to become managing director of high-yield sales and trading. NationsBank has also seen several departures from its investment-grade fixed-income business, including last week's resignation of John Griff, who ran the bank's investment-grade group.

Observers said NationsBank is deemphasizing its the investment-grade business in favor of high-yield operations.

But a NationsBank spokesman said that is not the case. "We are continuing to focus on our client base," which includes the low end of investment-grade companies, crossover companies, and high-yield middle- market clients, he said. The bank also has investment-grade clients within its industry specialty groups in energy, communications, utilities, and health care.

Recent departures from NationsBanc Capital Markets Inc. are insignificant, the spokesman said, in light of the group's rapid growth last year from 1,500 staffers to more than 1,900.

Meanwhile, Union Bank of Switzerland has hired Randall Chafetz as managing director and leader of its new private placements division. Mr. Chafetz was a director in the private finance group of Credit Suisse First Boston, where he had been for nine years.

And J.P. Morgan & Co. said its head of distressed bank loan trading, Paul Baeri, has left the company. Mr. Baeri had been a vice president in the securities division for less than three years.

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