In a sweeping management shuffle, BankBoston Corp. has promoted Bradford H. Warner to head up a newly organized retail banking group.

Mr. Warner, an executive vice president who had run the $71.4 billion- asset company's capital markets activities, was named the fifth member of the bank's senior management team. He reports to president and chief operating officer Henrique de Campos Meirelles.

BankBoston announced the appointment, along with other management realignments, in a memorandum to employees last week. The changes took effect last Wednesday.

In addition to the retail group, the bank has created a wholesale group, led by vice chairman Paul H. Hogan, and a global banking group, headed by executive vice presidents Manuel R. Sacerdote and Geraldo Carbone.

Mr. Meirelles and Charles K. Gifford, chairman and chief executive officer, said in the memo that the company is working to streamline its major businesses, "allowing for more focus, specialization, and consistent execution of business strategy."

"We need to transform BankBoston from a functionally based company to a customer-focused one," the memo said.

Most of the changes related to the retail group, which now includes consumer banking, small-business, private banking, marketing, operations, and technology.

"They are cleaning up the reporting lines to Henrique (Meirelles), and they are bringing in another manager to provide focus," said Sally Pope Davis, an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Analysts said the reorganization appeared to signal the company's desire to improve performance. Earnings from retail banking have lagged higher- growth corporate and Latin American banking units for the last few years.

"It's clear that they need to improve efficiencies in the retail operations," said Michael Mayo, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Warner said that in his new assignment he would draw on his experience applying advanced technologies in the capital markets group.

"Retail is shifting to be more information technology-intensive," he said. "My experience with some of those technologies and how to deliver growth will play a major part" in the new group.

Several officers who used to report to Mr. Meirelles directly report to Mr. Warner under the new retail structure: Thomas J. Hollister, executive vice president for consumer and small-business banking; John D. McCarthy, executive director for operations; Karen B. Green, executive director of marketing; and Guilliaem Aersten 4th, executive vice president of private banking.

Michael Lezenski, head of technology in the United States, has resigned after 30 years with the bank. Kevin Roden has been named acting technology chief, reporting to Mr. Warner.

An analyst described Mr. Warner as a strong manager who had a "roll-up- your-sleeves" approach to building the bank's capital markets group, working closely with Mr. Hogan over the last two years to develop the bank's underwriting capabilities.

He joined BankBoston 21 years ago and has also been group executive for the company's global treasury group and chairman of its asset/liability committee.

Analysts said Mr. Warner was strangely absent from the conference call announcing the bank's $540 million deal to buy investment banking boutique Robertson Stephens from BankAmerica Corp.

Robertson Stephens, based in San Francisco, would become a part of BankBoston's wholesale bank. Its president and CEO, Michael McCaffery, would report to Mr. Hogan once the deal is closed.

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