NEW YORK -- In a closely watched succession, Chemical Banking Corp. on Tuesday named Edward D. Miller president of the nation's third-largest bank.

Mr. Miller, vice chairman and head of consumer banking, was chosen to succeed Walter V. Shipley, who will become chairman and chief executive on Jan. 1 when John F. McGillicuddy retires from the top post.

The duo will team with William B. Harrison, vice chairman and head of corporate and institutional banking, to create a triumvirate that constitutes the office of the chairman.

Already a Team

"John and I have been sharing our duties, and Ed and Bill and been working closely as a team," said Mr. Shipley at a briefing Tuesday at the company's Park Avenue headquarters. "They will continue to do that, and I'll pick up John's duties."

Mr. Shipley said that Mr. Miller, 52, was chosen because "his background and management style are very complementary to my background and style."

Mr. Miller, a 30-year veteran of Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., which merged with Chemical in 1992, is known as an aggressive but down-to-earth executive with strong ties to Mr. McGillicuddy. His appointment may in part be a reward for the d relative successful merging of Chemical and Hanover's retail banking units, banking sources say.

Points for Merger

"It's feather in his cap that the consolidation is going well," said Judah Kraushaar, an analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co.

Mr. Miller and Mr. Harrison, 50, an executive at the old Chemical, were believed to be in a horse race for the No. 2 spot at Chemical. Another former Chemical executive, Mark Shapiro, chairman and chief executive of the bank's Texas affiliate, is also believed to have been in the running.

Mr. McGillicuddy said there were other candidates, but he declined to name them.

Power in Balance

"This is Walter's team," said Mr. McGillicuddy, who will remain a member of Chemical's board of directors. "I had input in the decision, as did the board, but it was Walter's decision."

In choosing Mr. Miller, a 30-year Hanover veteran, Chemical retains a balance of power between the two institutions, which merged in 1991.

"The company has done a lot to get away from the |we-them' mentality, but I think there was an interest that the No. 2 slot would be complementary to Chemical," said Mr. Kraushaar.

Mr. Shipley denied that Mr. Miller's Hanover background had anything to do with his appointment.

"The old |we-them' disappeared from the organization a long time ago," said Mr. Shipley.

Some Chemical watchers were surprised at Mr. Miller's appointment, saying that Mr. Harrison had the advantage because he, like Mr. Shipley, was a former Chemical banker.

Consumer Edge

But, they pointed out, Hanover bankers have dominated the management ranks of the consumer banking sector.

"Miller's appointment is somewhat of a statement of how important retail banking is to Chemical," said Raphael Soipher, an analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

Mr. Miller started out as a management trainee at Manufacturers Hanover in 1963. At age 31 he was put in charge of the bank's credit card operation and ran consumer credit during the mid-1970s.

In 1982 he was promoted to executive vice president for retail banking and become a member of the bank's management committee. In 1988, Mr. Miller was made a vice chairman, a title he retained after the merger of Hanover and Chemical.

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