Nearly three months after being pushed from his vice chairmanship at Shawmut National Corp., John P. Hamill has been named president of rival Fleet Financial Group's Massachusetts bank.

His hiring shows just how serious Providence, R.I.-based Fleet is about becoming an important force in the Bay State. Mr. Hamill, 52, is one of the better-known and respected bankers in the Boston area.

Mr. Hamill will report to Leo R. Breitman, chief executive of Fleet's Massachusetts bank. Mr. Breitman, who had been president, will relinquish that title and become chairman, a post that had been vacant. Mr. Hamill starts in late October.

It appears that Fleet, which has $44.6 billion in assets, moved swiftly to hire Mr. Hamill. His last day at Shawmut was June 30. Fleet contacted him two weeks later.

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