BIRMINGHAM, Ala -- Wondering about the future of AmSouth Bancorp? C. Dowd Ritter is the man to talk to. Last month, Mr. Ritter, 47, was appointed AmSouth's president and chief operating officer. Since he also was designated the clear heir-apparent to succeed chairman John W. Woods, who plans to retire in August 1996, Mr. Ritter is the man likely to lead AmSouth into the 21st century -- if the bank survives that long as an independent entity.

Mr. Ritter, like Mr. Woods before him, insists AmSouth can and will reward its shareholders by .remaining independent. But it's a fact of life that Alabarea's largest bank holding company always has been viewed as a desirable acquisition target. The recent passage of interstate banking legislation will only intensify those pressures.

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