Rosemarie B. Greco, president of CoreStates Financial Corp., said Monday that she will leave the company in early 1998.
One of the highest-ranking women in banking, Ms. Greco, 51, rose to the Philadelphia company's No. 2 post in June 1996. She succeeded Samuel McCullough, former chairman of CoreStates' acquisition target Meridian Bancorp, who retired.
Ms. Greco, who was also president and chief executive officer of the principal subsidiary, CoreStates Bank, cited personal reasons and gave no indication about her next move.
Terrence A. Larsen, 50, chairman and chief executive officer, assumed Ms. Greco's president titles immediately. Her management duties were split among holding company vice chairman Charles L. Coltman 3d, bank vice chairman Charles P. Connolly Jr., and executive vice president P. Sue Perrotty.
"When she joined CoreStates (in 1991) she said she might only stay five years," said Michael Mayo, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston. "But the exact timing of this is somewhat surprising."
Analysts stopped short of saying Ms. Greco was forced out, but they said CoreStates' difficulty in integrating of Meridian, which it bought for $3.2 billion in 1996, could be a reason for her departure.
"CoreStates has struggled tremendously with the Meridian integration in terms of customer disruptions and customer satisfaction," said Gerard Cassidy, an analyst at Tucker Anthony.
The $46 billion-asset CoreStates' quarterly results have fallen short of Wall Street expectations for the last four quarters largely because of costs associated with Meridian, analysts said, adding that revenues have not grown as anticipated.
"They took their eyes off the ball, and it's going to take them a while to get back up and running," Mr. Cassidy said.
CoreStates shares rose Monday by $1.0625, to $61.875, as market observers focused on CoreStates as an acquisition target. Fleet Financial Group, First Union Corp., and NationsBank Corp. are seen as potential buyers.
Ms. Greco was not available for comment Monday, but in a statement she said that "now the company is settling down" from the integration efforts and a reengineering project begun in 1994.
"It is an opportune time for me to step back and take a fresh look at my personal directions," she said.
Mr. Larsen, to whom Ms. Greco still reports, said he announced her decision "with sadness and a sense of loss."
Mr. Coltman, 54, vice chairman responsible for global and specialized banking services, will assume Ms. Greco's duties overseeing banking services, CoreStates Asset Management, and CoreStates Investment Management.
Mr. Connolly, 48, who heads retail branches, commercial and middle- market lending, and retail credit, will take on consumer segment marketing and development and corporate communications, reporting to Mr. Larsen.
Ms. Perrotty, 44, who reports to Mr. Larsen as head of information technology, will also report to Mr. Connolly on consumer segment marketing and development.
Ms. Greco joined CoreStates in 1991 as president of its First Pennsylvania Bank unit. Before that she was president and chief executive officer of Fidelity Bank, a Philadelphia subsidiary of First Fidelity Bancorp. of New Jersey.
The Philadelphia native's banking career began in 1968 when she became a temporary secretary at a Fidelity Bank branch.