Fulfilling its previously announced succession plan, Amsouth Bancorp's board elected president and chief operating officer C. Dowd Ritter as chief executive officer, replacing John W. Woods on Jan. 1.

Amsouth also reaffirmed that Mr. Ritter, 48, will become chairman when Mr. Woods retires next August. Mr. Woods, 64, the bank's CEO since 1972, described Mr. Ritter's promotion last week as "the logical next step in our previously announced leadership transition plan."

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