AMBAC Inc. yesterday announced that R. Daniel Massey, president and chief operating officer, is resigning "to pursue other career interests," effective Aug. 1.

Mr. Massey joined AMBAC in January 1988 as president and chief executive officer. Last year, shortly after AMBAC completed its initial public stock offering, Phillip B. Lassiter left Citibank to become AMBAC's chairman and chief executive officer.

With Mr. Massey's departure, Mr. Lassiter will assume the role of president.

Mr. Lassiter, in a prepared statement, said the chief executive and chief operating officer positions increasingly overlapped as AMBAC's future goals were defined.

"Dan Massey and I have worked together to set the strategic direction for AMBAC and to identify the actions required for us to continue our success and achieve our full potential," Mr. Lassiter's statement says. "During the course of that work, Dan and I mutually came to the conclusion that [the separate positions] are overlapping, given the size of the organization and its well-defined business activities."

Mr. Massey's departure comes on the heels of selective lay-offs at AMBAC. Late last month, the company announced that three professionals had been let go: two vice presidents in the company's new products division and an assistant vice president of finance.

Yesterday's announcement also mentioned that AMBAC's "organization will be streamlined, with all major departments reporting directly" to Mr. Lassiter.

Market participants have speculated on how AMBAC will diversify in the coming months, and new products are under active consideration at the firm, Mr. Lassiter told The Bond Buyer earlier this year.

The other major bond insurers have delved into asset-backed financings to both boost premiums and broaden their portfolios, but AMBAC has yet to join the fray. Traditionally, the firm has styled itself as an information resource. Its ownership of Health Care Investment Analysts, a hospital research organization, is an example of that focus.

AMBAC is the second-leading municipal bond insurer, with about $10.5 billion of new, long-term debt guaranteed in the first half of 1992, according to preliminary data from the company. A total of 456 issues were backed by the company during the period.

AMBAC is also the first municipal bond insurer, having sold the first municipal insurance policy to the Borough of Greater Juneau, Alaska, in 1971.

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