Luther S. Helms announced his resignation Tuesday, effective at the end of the month, as one of BankAmerica Corp.'s senior retail bankers.

Mr. Helms' boss, Thomas E. Peterson, also announced he will retire next year, as soon as a successor is found.

Mr. Helms said he will pursue other opportunities, having concluded his "career goals are best achieved" elsewhere. His position, manager of retail banking, will not be filled.

Mr. Helms' departure did not come as a surprise, analysts said. He was considered a candidate to suceed Richard Rosenberg, who retired this year as chairman and chief executive officer. Those posts went to David A. Coulter instead.

Mr. Helms "was not being groomed for any more promotions at Bank of America," said Campbell Chaney, analyst at Sandler O'Neill & Partners in New York. "He was used to reporting directly to Rosenberg, but now there's another layer of management between him and the top."

That other layer was Mr. Peterson, 61, whom Mr. Rosenberg left in charge of worldwide consumer banking. A BankAmerica statement said Mr. Peterson had been wanting to retire "for some time."

Neither official could be reached for further comment. BankAmerica spokesman Russ Yarrow said, "It's a dynamic industry, and (Mr. Helms) sees a lot of opportunities for himself. He sees that we have a new CEO here and felt that he should have the opportunity to build his own team."

Mr. Helms, 52, joined BankAmerica in 1982 with the acquisition of Seafirst Corp. in Seattle.

Mr. Peterson joined the bank in 1987 as an executive vice president, coming from rival Wells Fargo & Co., where he had been a long-time associate of Mr. Rosenberg.

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