C. Stanley Bailey has resigned as vice chairman of AmSouth Bancorp., three months after losing out in a management succession contest at the Birmingham, Ala.-based bank.

Mr. Bailey's resignation follows the appointment of AmSouth's other vice chairman, C. Dowd Ritter, to president and CEO in August. AmSouth's current chairman and former CEO, John W. Woods, is scheduled to retire in August 1996.

Mr. Woods, 63, had appointed both Mr. Bailey and Mr. Ritter vice chairmen in July 1993, clearly setting up a contest for the succession, which Mr. Bailey lost.

"It's not a surprise that they would come to a friendly parting of the ways," said J.C. Bradford & Co.'s Henry J. Coffey Jr. "It's what you'd expect when you have a change of control within the management group."

Mr. Bailey declined to be interviewed. A bank-issued statement said he had "concluded that my goals involve other business interests."

Mr. Bailey resigned a week after AmSouth informed analysts that he would be given the job of chief financial officer, a position he had held previously and one then occupied by M. List Underwood, Jr. Mr. Underwood, a former treasurer at Memphisbased First Tennessee National Corp. who joined AmSouth in October 19.93, is now controller.

AmSouth spokesman Jim Underwood (no relation) said the company would conduct a search for a new chief financial officer "both internally and externally."

Mr. Bailey, 45, joined AmSouth's management training program in t971 and became a member of the executive management team in 1985, when he was named executive vice president. He became a senior executive vice president in 1988 and vice chairman in July 1993.

In contrast to Mr. Ritter, whose expertise is in retail banking, Mr. Bailey came up on the operations and finance side of the company. His most Visible role in recent years was spearheading AmSouth's ambitious acquisition program, which has added $7 billion in assets since 1993.

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