has left less than three months after Chase announced its plan to merge with Chemical Banking Corp. Salvatore M. Capizzi, national sales manager for Chase Manhattan Investment Services, resigned last week, Chase officials confirmed. Mr. Capizzi could not be reached for comment. In recent months, Mr. Capizzi's role at Chase was diminished, according to several sources. They said it was just a matter of time before Mr. Capizzi decided to leave. "There was a real question as to whether Sal would want to hold on anyway and try to carve a niche for himself at the new Chase," said one mutual fund consultant familiar with the situation. On Monday Mr. Capizzi will join a new unit of PNC Bank Corp. that will be responsible for managing and marketing the proprietary PNC Funds, a PNC spokesman confirmed. He will report to Karen Sabath, a managing director at PNC's money manager BlackRock, who will run the new unit. Mr. Capizzi's departure reduces the number of players vying for control of the combined brokerage force of Chase and Chemical Banking Corp. The two companies are to merge in the first quarter of 1996. Industry observers say it's still unclear whether Leonard E. Malkin, the managing director of Chemical Investment Services, or J. Peter Benzie Jr., the president of Chase Manhattan Investment Services, will be named head of the new bank's combined brokerage. The two companies are expected to jointly announce a new round of appointments - including brokerage chief - before the Thanksgiving holiday, sources close to both companies have said. Mr. Capizzi had been national sales manager of mutual funds for Smith Barney Shearson before joining Chase in March 1994. He was hired to take responsibility for Chase's investment program that was being run by GNA Corp. He later was put in charge of internalizing the program and hiring the 160 GNA brokers that were working through 350 Chase branches in New York, Connecticut, and Maryland. Mutual fund executives that knew Mr. Capizzi called him a "straight shooter" and credited him with building up Chase's investments sales by expanding the line of products sold by its brokers. "If you had a good product with good performance, Sal would give you the chance to promote that product within his system," said Ted Breen, vice president and financial institution sales manager for John Hancock Funds, Boston. Even so, there were signs this summer that Mr. Capizzi's position at Chase was on rocky ground. Shortly before the merger announcement, Chase consolidated its branch- based brokerage program with a smaller program overseen by Mr. Benzie, who was then in charge of investment sales outside bank branches. When Mr. Benzie was made president of the combined Chase Manhattan Investment Services, Mr. Capizzi was relegated to the job of national sales manager, reporting to Mr. Benzie.

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