Groupe Bull of France said George McNeil has taken over as president and chief executive officer of Bull Americas, overseeing among other things the marketing of smart card technology in the Western Hemisphere.

Mr. McNeil, 55, who has worked for Bull and its Honeywell Information Systems predecessor since 1965, succeeded Don Zereski, another industry veteran, who was promoted to senior executive vice president of the parent organization.

With the changes that took effect last month, Mr. Zereski, Bull Americas chief since February 1996, has offices in France and at Bull's U.S. base in Billerica, Mass. He reports to Groupe Bull chairman and CEO Guy de Panafieu.

Mr. McNeil, who was not available for an interview, was most recently president of Bull Europe.

"George has a very balanced background-in products and services as well as overseeing sales networks in Europe," said a company spokesman.

A native of Scotland, Mr. McNeil held several management posts in Honeywell before Bull acquired it in 1988. He was general manager of the United Kingdom manufacturing division in Newhouse, Scotland, between 1976 and 1980. He then became vice president of manufacturing for the large computer products division in Phoenix, and was named vice president of hardware operations in 1983. In 1986 he became managing director of Honeywell.

"His skills and expertise have given him a keen understanding of the company's strengths in today's rapidly changing marketplace," said the Bull spokesman.

Mr. McNeil is based in Billerica and reports to Mr. Zereski, who now has worldwide sales and marketing responsibilities. Mr. Zereski is also building on an international career that dates back to the 1960s. Before joining Bull in 1996 he spent 30 years at Digital Equipment Corp. He rose to general manager of the U.S. region, overseeing a business unit of 54,000 employees with $5 billion of revenue.

He told American Banker in April that Bull was hitting its 50% growth target for smart cards and terminals globally but was "more cautious" about North American prospects.

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PARIS-Bull Smart Cards and Terminals said it won a bid to supply several hundred Amadeo payment terminals to the Russian credit bank Rossiiskyi Credit.

"This successful bid against our leading competitors demonstrates the quality and competitiveness of our offer," said David Levy, managing director of the French computer company's smart card unit.

The terminals will run on the Russian bank's current software and will be installed at retail outlets.

Bull said that because smart cards support off-line transactions, they appeal to countries in Eastern Europe with telecommunications limitations.

Separately, Bull and its Amadeo marketing partner, NBS Technologies of Canada, said the equipment was certified by Mondex International to serve as a credit, debit, or stored value platform.

Neil Hudd, NBS president of transaction systems, said "in addition to Amadeo, NBS expects to work with Bull to bring other products to market in the near future."

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