Roger Fitzsimonds made his name at Firstar Corp. cleaning up a troubled commercial loan portfolio in the 1980s.

Now, the 57-year-old chairman has an even bigger task at hand: cut 2,500 jobs, or 26% of the company's work force, and reduce expenses by $110 million by the second quarter next year. And he has little choice if Firstar is to avoid a hostile takeover.

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