NEW YORK - John Ward, chairman and chief executive officer of American Express Bank, will step down to pursue other opportunities, American Express Co. said Tuesday.

Mr. Ward's departure was disclosed as the financial services company announced organizational changes in anticipation of the retirement of chief executive officer Harvey Golub next year.

Mr. Ward, 54, will remain chairman of the bank until September. He joined American Express in 1996 from Chase Manhattan Bank, where he was in charge of Chase's card business. Richard Holmes, currently head of Amex's private banking, assumes the chief executive post at American Express Bank, which is primarily an international entity.

American Express also announced on Tuesday that it has formed a new unit, the global financial services group. It includes the financial adviser business, encompassing international consumer card operation and American Express Bank.

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