Columbia Banking System of Tacoma, Wash., promoted Melanie J. Dressel to president and chief operating officer of its Columbia State Bank.

W.W. Philip, 71, chairman and chief executive officer of the holding company and bank, had been interim president since the death of Arnold Espe in November.

Ms. Dressel, 45, joined Columbia as senior vice president of private banking in 1993, after KeyCorp bought her previous employer, Puget Sound Bancorp. Since May 1997 she had been executive vice president of retail banking, responsible for directing operations, investments, private banking, marketing, and communications.

The holding company also promoted senior vice president Evans Q. "Tex" Whitney, 54, to executive vice president. He will take charge of the bank's branch system and remain its human resources director.

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