In a move that caught his own troops and others by surprise, Chase Manhattan Corp. president and chief operating officer Arthur F. Ryan said he will leave Nov. 1 to become chairman and chief executive of the Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Mr. Ryan, 52, has been president and chief operating officer of Chase Manhattan since 1990.

He holds direct operating responsibility for all the bank's business and played a key role in the restructuring that converted Chase from mainly a commercial lending institution to a global wholesale bank.

"I think it was accurate to say it came as a surprise to everyone," said a source at Chase, who declined to be identified.

Chase Manhattan will not name a single successor to Mr. Ryan. Instead, the Brooklyn-born banker will be replaced by a team of three executive vice presidents reporting directly to Chase chairman and chief executive Thomas Labrecque.

The three, who have been promoted to senior executive vice president, are Donald Boudreau, head of Chase's regional bank, Robert Hunter, head of national consumer products, and Michel Kruse, head of global financial services.

"Going forward, I do not intend to operate with a chief operating officer," Chase sources quoted Mr. Labrecque as saying.

Analysts did not exclude the possibility that Chase may yet name a new president but said Mr. Ryan's resignation was unlikely to have any major impact on the bank's operations.

"It's a loss for Chase but it's not a loss of major importance because they have good people running the large line areas," said Ronald I. Mandle, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein. "My interpretation is that they don't feel they have to act hastily."

Analysts added that Mr. Ryan's departure was also probably due to the attraction of holding a more senior position and not the result of any conflict within Chase.

"It's a terrific opportunity for Art Ryan and Prudential is lucky to get him," said David Berry, an analyst and director of research at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

Mr. Berry also pointed out Mr. Ryan had few possibilities for advancing further at Chase. "He and Labrecque were a great team, but they're about the same age and I don't think Tom's leaving soon."

Chase's stock price remained unchanged at $36 in late afternoon trading.

Mr. Ryan joined Chase Manhattan's data processing division in 1972 from Control Data Corp. In 1984, he became executive vice president for individual banking and served as vice chairman from 1985 to 1990. From 1984 to 1990 Mr. Ryan ran Chase's worldwide retail bank.

He will replace Robert C. Winters as chairman of Prudential, one of the world's largest financial institutions, with more than $45 billion of revenues last year and more than 100,000 employees.

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