In a surprise move, Bank of New York Co. on Wednesday named Gerald L. Hassell, a 25-year veteran of its corporate banking unit, as president.

Mr. Hassell, 46, takes the title from Thomas A. Renyi, the chief executive officer who became chairman of Bank of New York in February. Though Mr. Renyi had long been expected to give up the presidency, Mr. Hassell, a low-profile executive, was not seen as an obvious candidate for the job.

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