When Scott A. Kisting was passed over for the No. 2 position at Norwest Corp. in February, he wasn't bitter.

"That's just corporate life," he said in a recent interview.

But he probably also knew he'd find another job pretty easily.

Last week he was named chief operating officer at Citizens Financial Group, Providence, R.I. In his new role as the second-in command at $15.8 billion-asset Citizens, Mr. Kisting will be in charge of day-to-day operations, overseeing 280 bank offices, while chairman, chief executive officer, and president Lawrence K. Fish focuses on strategy.

The move "has everything to do with my career goals," Mr. Kisting said.

There was little opportunity for advancement at $83.9 billion-asset Norwest, he said, after Leslie Biller was promoted from executive vice president to president and chief operating officer. Mr. Kisting and Mr. Biller are both 50; Richard M. Kovacevich, Norwest's chairman and chief executive officer, is 53.

However, it seems unlikely that Mr. Kisting, whose appointment is effective Sept. 1, is being groomed for the chairman's position at Citizens. Mr. Fish is 52.

At Norwest Mr. Kisting oversaw 180 bank offices in Minnesota and Nevada. He was also chief executive of Norwest's flagship Minneapolis bank.

Citizens, with $15.8 billion in assets, is the third-largest bank in New England. It is 76.5% owned by Royal Bank of Scotland; the rest is owned by Bank of Ireland.

"I didn't want to just run a portion of a company. This is a chance for me to move to the next level," he said. "Even though I was given additional responsibility (at Norwest), I've been training for this my whole life."

Mr. Kisting said he had "several offers" for jobs. Citizens interviewed more than 30 candidates for chief operating officer, according to Mr. Fish.

Mr. Kisting will oversee 5,500 employees in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Ben Crabtree, an analyst with Dain Bosworth Inc. in Minneapolis, said Norwest lost a "champion" of technology. Mr. Kisting was one of the executives at Norwest to advocate new technology, such as video kiosks.

Before joining Norwest in February 1990, Mr. Kisting was an executive vice president and division executive for BankAmerica Corp.'s commercial banking division, which focuses on midsize and small businesses. He holds a bachelor's degree and an MBA from California State University in Long Beach.

In a prepared statement, Mr. Biller said, "We're sorry to see him go, and we wish him well. We're fortunate to have a deep bench of talented executives from which to select to fill the vacuum created by his departure."

A Norwest spokesman said it was "premature" to speculate about Mr. Kisting's successor.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.