Chase Manhattan Corp. has once again shaken up the management of its asset management unit.

Chase said Thursday that it has given oversight of asset management, private banking, and its fledgling Internet business, Chase.com, to a single executive, vice chairman Neal S. Garonzik.

Henry Latrigue, the chief investment officer for the asset management group, succeeds Deborah L. Duncan as head of asset management, reporting to Mr. Garonzik. Ms. Duncan, 44, an executive vice president, has agreed to stay at the bank at least through April, the banks said.

The reorganization included the retirement of Joseph G. Sponholz, a vice chairman in charge of technology development who just six months ago was put in charge of Chase.com. Mr. Sponholz, 55, is leaving "to pursue personal interests," a statement said.

Denis J. O'Leary, 43, executive vice president and deputy head of consumer services, will take on day-to-day management of Chase.com, reporting to Mr. Garonzik. Marc J. Shapiro, 52, vice chairman of finance and risk management, will take over the management of Chase's technology support groups.

William B. Harrison Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, said the reorganization would help Chase "increase the focus on the growth opportunities in the New Economy, while strategically identifying other growth opportunities in existing businesses."

Analysts said the asset management business may have been overdue for a shakeup.

Mr. Garonzik, 52, who ran equity operations at Morgan Stanley & Co. until late 1997, was brought to Chase in August in part "to bring asset management to the next level," said Michael Mayo, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston. "They're not there yet."

Chase has struggled to build scale in and wring efficiencies out of its asset management unit, which has over $211 billion of assets under management. The unit underwent several waves of restructurings and management shakeups in the late 1990s.

Sources both inside and outside the bank say the business adds little to Chase's bottom line, and indeed Chase has publicly acknowledged a desire to build the business.

Because Chase lumps the performance of its asset management and mutual fund businesses into a catchall earnings category within its global bank, it is difficult to determine precisely how much the bank reaps from those operations.

For the fourth quarter 1999, Chase reported a loss of $106 million in the category that includes asset management. Global private banking, a separate line item, recorded $37 million in income for the quarter. Total income in the global banking group was $1.2 billion in the period.

The company said in its fourth-quarter earnings report that it took $100 million in charges for "business initiatives," including the restructuring of asset management operations, and that it aims for $80 million in annual cost savings by next year.

The company also said it would take about $360 million in charges through 2001 for relocating staff and businesses out of New York, resulting in estimated annual cost savings of $130 million by 2003.

Chase combined its equity asset management functions in August, moving the operations from New York to existing facilities in Houston, in a bid for operational efficiency. Mr. Lartigue was chief investment officer for the group and will remain in Houston.

The bank said Ms. Duncan opted not to be moved out of New York and could be reassigned to another business, a spokesman said.

Still, analysts said the changes have not been enough. The unit has had "no momentum," said George Bicher, an analyst at Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown. "I think, ultimately, they are going to have to buy something."

During a presentation to analysts earlier this month, Chase executives said capital management initiatives this year, including a plan to buy back as much as $5 billion in stock, could free up about $1.1 billion for acquisitions.

The bank has left the door open to the possibility of acquisitions to build asset management and other units. "We see many opportunities … to grow our franchises in the mutual fund, private client, and institutional asset management areas," Mr. Harrison said in the statement Thursday.

Also reporting to Mr. Garonzik will be Maria Elena Lagomasino, 50, head of private banking who had been reporting to James B. Lee Jr., vice chairman in charge of investment banking.

Mr. Garonzik said in the statement that he hoped to better coordinate the bank's asset management, venture capital, investment banking, and capital markets groups to provide more services to Chase's 40,000 private banking clients.

Mr. Garonzik will also share some strategic duties with fellow vice chairman Donald H. Layton, who is head of global investor services, including custody and processing operations. Mr. Garonzik "will spearhead a development effort to build additional capabilities from these activities," Mr. Harrison said in the statement, "either through internal growth, acquisitions" or strategic partnerships.

Chase appears to be marshalling additional resources to its Internet projects. The company has reaped eye-popping, double-digit gains from businesses that target the high-tech sector. These businesses include Chase Capital Partners, the company's venture capital unit, and Chase H&Q, created in the bank's December purchase of San Francisco-based investment bank Hambrecht & Quist.

Mr. O'Leary's appointment as head of Chase.com was viewed by market watchers as an attempt to accelerate development of additional services for the Internet sector. "He brings a tremendous amount of horsepower and imagination," Mr. Bicher said.

"Our early success has convinced us that more resources and talent will help identify and realize Internet opportunities even more quickly," Mr. Harrison said.

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.