To the Editor:

I must take exception to the headlines over two recent stories regarding Firstar Corp.

One (Feb. 3) used the term "beleaguered" to describe a company that showed 1996 earnings growth of more than 12% and a return on equity of almost 16%, despite incurring the one-time expense of a major corporate restructuring.

The other (April 29) screamed, "Firstar Slashed CEO's Bonus". There was no "slashing" involved. The restructuring program initiated by Firstar CEO Roger Fitzsimonds carried a one-time cost that reduced 1996 earnings below the top quartile of our peers.

This triggered an automatic reduction in the annual bonus portion of our executive compensation program.

It was a trade-off willingly made for the long-term benefit of Firstar shareholders and employees.

Here's a more representative headline: "Firstar Positions Itself for Robust Future Growth."

Anne L. Curley

First VP, director of public affairs,Firstar Corp.,

Milwaukee

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