Darwin Deason has stepped aside as chief executive officer of Affiliated Computer Services Inc., which he founded, in favor of Jeffrey A. Rich.

Mr. Rich, 38, has been president since 1995. He was promoted as part of a management succession process, said Mark King, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Mr. Deason, 58, is the largest individual stockholder in ACS, with six million shares. He will remain chairman of the board and will be active in the company "at least until he is 65," Mr. King said.

An energetic entrepreneur and bank technology stalwart, Mr. Deason formed ACS in 1988 after 20 years at MTech, including 10 years as chairman of the board and CEO. Electronic Data Systems Corp. bought MTech in 1988 from the now-defunct Texas bank holding company MCorp.

"Jeff and I have worked very closely together for several years, and I take great pride in promoting him," Mr. Deason said.

ACS, whose revenue is running at $1.2 billion a year, sells electronic funds transfer and data networking services to 12,000 corporations and government entities. It got out of the business of providing core data- processing services to banks a few years ago.

Mr. Deason "knew he wasn't competing properly, so he closed it and got out," said M. Arthur Gillis, president of Dallas-based Computer Based Solutions Inc.

In core processing, he said, "if you are not in the top three, you are nothing."

ACS is not out of the bank services market entirely, Mr. King said. Among its diversified business lines, the company sells image-based document management services to banks.

Eight of the 10 biggest U.S. banks use it to store and retrieve digitized images of documents, such as customer signature cards and checks, Mr. King said.

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