Was he pushed or did he jump?

James Latchford, controller of Chemical Banking Corp., quietly resigned a few weeks ago. The Chemical veteran, who is 48, collected an enhanced severance package that included as much as three times salary and bonus, plus retirement bonuses.

The deal, available to just 29 executives, was approved as a "golden handcuff" before the Manufacturers Hanover merger, and expires at the end of the year.

That's plenty of reason for Mr. Latchford to have followed several other colleagues who recently resigned.

But sources said he may also have been forced out because of delays in a key computer conversion he was responsible for in the wake of the merger.

His task, to assimilate the two banks' general ledger systems, is critical to the consolidation of Hanover and Chemical branches that is slated to begin next month.

Mr. Latchford did not return phone calls.

An internal memo said that he resigned to "pursue other professional interest." Joseph Sclafani, a senior vice president who hails from Hanover, was named acting controller and is expected to get the post full time.

Chemical also named Carl Moellenberg, a senior vice president who has been on the merger implementation team, as director of planning and management information systems. Mr. Latchford previously was responsible for those areas.

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