Howard Stein will retire as chairman and chief executive of Dreyfus Corp., the company announced Thursday, clearing the way for Mellon Bank Corp. to fully take its mutual fund subsidiary's reins.

W. Keith Smith, a Mellon vice chairman, will be the new Dreyfus chairman. He is head of Mellon Trust and chairman and chief executive of the Pittsburgh-based banking company's Boston Co. unit.

Another Mellon vice chairman, Christopher M. "Kip" Condron, will become Dreyfus' chief executive. He has been president and chief operating officer of Dreyfus since last November.

The changes, which take effect Aug. 31, mark the end of an era for Dreyfus, which Mellon acquired in 1994.

Mr. Stein, 69, has been chairman and CEO for a quarter of a century. While he is highly regarded for building one of the biggest mutual fund groups, he came under criticism in recent years for allowing the company to lose market share.

At a time when stock funds were wildly popular among investors - and profitable for companies to run - Dreyfus remained firmly wedded to bond and money market funds under Mr. Stein.

Mr. Stein stayed in the top post after the Mellon acquisition, but he withdrew from day-to-day management, which was left to a cadre of executives hand-picked by Mellon.

Prudential Securities analyst Ruchi Madan called Mr. Stein's retirement "a formality."

"We knew Smith and Condron have been in there for some time," Ms. Madan said. "When Mellon bought Dreyfus, Stein took a back seat."

Ms. Madan applauded the two Mellon executives' efforts to breathe life into Dreyfus, which manages or administers more than $80 billion of assets. Mr. Smith and Mr. Condron continue to build the company's equity portfolios, she said.

"We've actually seen flows into the equity funds this year," Ms. Madan said. "So far, it's working."

Katharine Fraser contributed to this report.

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