In promoting two executives to vice chairman. Amsouth chairman John W. Woods is preparing a careful course to retirement. But he also seems to have ensured an interesting succession contest for the Alabama bank company.

Mr. Woods and his board appointed C. Stanley Bailey and C. Dowd Ritter - the former from the corporate office and the latter from the line-of-business side - to vice chairman posts last month. The promotions signal that the bank has strong bench strength, Mr. Woods contended in a recent interview.

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