SAN FRANCISCO -- First Nationwide Bank is undergoing a series of senior management changes in advance of its sale by Ford Motor Co., including transfer of the thrills chief executive to the parent company.

John M. Devine, 50, a longtime Ford Motor financial executive who joined First Nationwide in 1988 and was named its chairman and CEO in 1991, will return to the automaker as vice president and corporate controller, effective June 1.

Replacing him as chairman and chief executive of San Francisco-based First Nationwide will be vice chairman Jack A. Frazee, 51, a thrift manager hired in 1992 to engineer the unit's sale.

Staying with Holding Gompany

Last month, Ford agreed to sell First Nationwide, the nation's sixth-largest thrift, to First Madison Bank, a Dallas-based savings institution controlled by Texas banker Gerald J. Ford and New York financier Ronald O. Perelman.

After closing of the sale about Sept. 1, Mr. Frazee will become chairman of First Nationwide's holding company, which Ford Motor will rename Granite Management Corp.

The unit will manage about $1.2 billion in real estate and other assets not included in the sale.

First Nationwide's secondranking executive, president and chief operating officer Jon M. Christoffersen, 50, has resigned, effective the end of June.

Mr. Christoffersen, a highly regarded banker who previously held senior posts at Rainier Bank, Seattle, and Visa U.S.A. was asked to stay by First Nationwide's new owners but opted to take advantage of a severance agreement triggered by the sale.

The amount of Mr. Christoffersen's severance package has not been disclosed.

One manager who will remain after the sale is senior executive vice president Peter K. Thornsen. 52, who heads First Nationwide's consumer banking operations, Gerald Ford said in an interview.

Mr. Ford, First Madison's chairman and chief executive, and Cad B. Webb, a longtime associate who is president and chief operating officer at First Madison, will take the same posts at First Nationwide, Mr. Ford said.

Other senior management positions will go to a mixture of First Nationwide and First Madison executives, Mr. Ford added.

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