Michael T. Monahan, president of Comerica Inc., told employees in an internal memo that he will retire June 1, 1999, leaving open the bank's No. 2 position.

Mr. Monahan, 59, said he would retire "to help ensure an orderly transition" in management of the $35 billion-asset company.

His successor will likely be in line for chairman and chief executive officer Eugene A. Miller's job when he retires within the next five years. Mr. Miller is 60.

Mr. Monahan's departure could open the door for the two most senior executives at Comerica after him: vice chairman John D. Lewis, 49, and chief financial officer, Ralph W. Babb Jr., 49.

Mr. Monahan was not available for comment Thursday after news of the memo appeared in The Detroit News.

Joseph Duwan, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., said if a successor is not named soon, it may raise speculation about whether Comerica intends to remain independent or sell to another company.

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