to revitalize consumer operations. Carl W. Forsythe, 38, will join the Irwindale, Calif., unit of H.F. Ahmanson & Co. on Nov. 13 as executive vice president and director of retail services. Mr. Forsythe will lead the thrift's efforts to become more competitive in its California, Florida, and Texas markets. Mr. Forsythe and Charles R. Rinehart, Ahmanson's chairman, were both traveling and could not be reached for comment. In a written statement, Mr. Rinehart said his new retail chief's "management, marketing, and analytic skills will help further our strategy to become a full-service consumer bank." The veteran banker joined Banc One in 1993 to head a three-state region with 500 banks and $18 billion of deposits. He was the top retail executive at First Gibraltar Bank before joining Banc One. In tapping a seasoned commercial banker, Ahmanson is following the lead of other thrifts, including rival Great Western Financial Corp. The Chatsworth, Calif., thrift in July tapped A. William Schenk 3d, the highly regarded retail head of PNC Bank Corp., as its executive vice president. Industry analysts say the thrifts are making the right choices by looking to their more successful commercial peers as role models to devise more-aggressive retail strategies. Commercial bank executives are the likely source of talent to make the goals realities, observers said. "It makes sense to hire people like that to come in and jump-start the effort," said Anthony Davis, analyst at Dean Witter Reynolds, New York. Mr. Forsythe's hiring as part of a broad strategy to improve margins appears timely. He is replacing Edward McGrath, who, a spokeswoman said, left voluntarily last summer following a restructuring of his responsibilities. In other shifts over the past two years, the thrift shed retail operations in New York and Illinois and also took an $11 million charge to streamline its mortgage business. Now, Home Savings is scouting more California locations to beef up its already significant presence there, and is adding retail products, such as home equity loans, to its branches, the spokeswoman said. Mr. Forsythe will play an integral role in that effort, she said. The longtime banker is up to the effort, a spokesman at Banc One said. He said Mr. Forsythe did an "excellent" job overseeing the Columbus- based company's retail and small-business efforts in the Ohio region. Banc One is leaning towards an insider to replace Mr. Forsythe, but has not made a final decision, the spokesman said.
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