Struggling Michigan National Corp. named banking trouble-shooter Douglas E. Ebert president and chief operating officer on Wednesday.

Mr. Ebert, 48, has for the last three years made a career of operating failing or auction-bound banking companies. These jobs have focused largely on takeover talks with federal regulators and investors.

The executive acted as a turnaround artist after the 1991 failure of Miami-based Southeast Banking Corp. Mr. Ebert also ushered ailing Lincoln Financial Corp., Fort Wayne, into the arms of acquirer Norwest Corp.

Goading from Regulators

The executive's appointment follows a four-month search launched partially at the behest of federal regulators, who specified in a summer regulatory agreement that the $10.4 billion-asset Michigan National beef up its management team.

After a series of costly write-downs on Michigan National's mortgage servicing portfolio, directors and investors heatedly debated whether the company should be sold.

Analysts who follow the Farmington Hills-based company have said that a takeover appears inevitable.

But Robert J. Mylod, chairman and chief executive, this summer maintained that the strategic debate was resolved in favor of independence.

On Wednesday, Mr. Mylod said in a prepared statement that he would team up with Mr. Ebert to "expand our success as an independent banking organization."

Michigan National said Mr. Ebert, a former executive senior vice president at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., "will be responsible for directing the overall growth and control" of its commercial, retail, investment, and mortgage banking businesses.

Excluding special gains and losses, Michigan National's return on average assets has ranged from an annualized 0.49% in the first quarter to 1.11% in the third quarter, according to Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

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