Rosemarie B. Greco, chief executive of CoreStates Financial Corp.'s lead bank, has been named president of the parent company, making her the highest-ranking woman in commercial banking.

Ms. Greco, 50, will rank second in the $44 billion-asset Philadelphia company, behind Terrence A. Larsen, chairman and chief executive. Her promotion will be effective June 30, when president and chief operating officer Samuel A. McCullough, 57, steps down.

Ms. Greco will continue as president and chief executive of CoreStates Bank, but she said she'll spend more time talking to investors and analysts and deciding company strategy. She said she will be a key strategist as CoreStates implements its merger with Meridian Bancorp, which closed April 9. "My responsibility is to make the acquisition work," she said.

Ms. Greco joined the bank in March 1991. She headed retail at first, but her expanded to responsibility for all banking operations. Before her stint at CoreStates, Ms. Greco was a senior executive vice president at First Fidelity Bancorp of Lawrenceville, N.J.

"Retail and middle-market lending account for 65% of CoreStates earnings," said Smith Barney analyst Anthony Davis. "She has clearly carried the lion's share of responsibility at the bank."

The holding company's No. 2 job opened up when Mr. McCullough announced last month that he would give up his titles and remain for a year only as a consultant. Mr. McCullough, formerly chairman and chief executive of Meridian, made his announcement the same day the merger was completed.

Gale Wood, executive director of Virginia-based Financial Women International, said women make up only 2% of the senior executives in financial services companies.

According to the American Bankers Association, Ms. Greco will be the highest-ranking woman leading a major bank.

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