Thomas P. Johnson Jr., former retail chief at Barnett Banks Inc., has landed a new job in a similar capacity at Boatmen's Bancshares.

Mr. Johnson accepted a post last week as executive vice president of retail banking at St. Louis-based Boatmen's, which has assets of $33 billion. Since Boatmen's operates a decentralized network of separately chartered banks in nine states, Mr. Johnson will not have line responsibility for the branches, but rather will design strategy that can then be implemented - if appropriate - in the individual banks.

"One of Boatmen's main strategies is to increase their retail market penetration throughout the entire nine-state franchise," Mr. Johnson said in a telephone interview last week. "My goal is to facilitate the accomplishment of that."

Mr. Johnson, 51, certainly brings a wealth of experience to his new role. At Barnett, where he served as chief executive of retail banking, Mr. Johnson oversaw the strategy for more than 600 branches, reorganized the indirect and direct lending business, managed credit cards, oversaw mortgage lending, and merged the discount brokerage and bond companies into a full service broker-dealer. He also once ran Barnett's trust subsidiary.

Boatmen's operates one of the largest trust companies in the Midwest, with $47 billion of assets under management.

Before joining Barnett in 1985, Mr. Johnson did stints in the trust departments of the former NCNB Corp. - now NationsBank Corp. - in North Carolina, and Tampa-based First Florida Banks Inc., now part of Barnett.

Mr. Johnson left Barnett in the wake of a major restructuring of the bank's retail operations that saw many of his responsibilities parceled out to other executives, particularly to technology chief Jonathan J. Palmer. Though the restructuring was first reported in November 1994, Mr. Johnson remained on Barnett's payroll as a consultant until a few days ago.

Mr. Johnson indicated that the move from Jacksonville, Fla., where Barnett is based, to St. Louis, was not a big culture shock for him, since his wife is from Kansas City. "This gets my wife back closer to home," he said.

At Boatmen's Mr. Johnson replaces Alfred S. Dominick Jr., who joined Milwaukee-based M&I Data Services, a subsidiary of Marshall & Ilsley Corp., in July as head of retail products and delivery.

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