Former Citi Exec Takes VP Job at Priceline

NORWALK, Conn. - William F. Pike, Citigroup Inc.'s former director of investor relations, has accepted a post as Priceline.com's vice president of financial planning, analysis, and investor relations, the online auction company announced Tuesday.Mr. Pike, 40, will report to Heidi Miller, Priceline's senior executive vice president of strategic planning and administration and chief financial officer. Until recently, Ms. Miller was the chief financial officer of Citigroup.

In the newly created Priceline post, Mr. Pike will manage the company's financial planning, analysis, and reporting, as well as its investor relations activities with institutions and individuals.

Before joining Travelers Group in 1994, Mr. Pike was manager of accounting and budgeting for the U.S. division of Mutual Risk Management, an alternative-risk property/casualty insurer.


Illinois Thrift to Buy Back 22% of Stock

CHICAGO - A thrift company under shareholder pressure to sell said it expects to spend $4.4 million this week to repurchase 22% of its outstanding common stock.PS Financial Inc., with $122 million of assets, said Monday that it expects to buy back 367,244 shares at $12 each.

PS Financial said it based the price on a nearly monthlong "modified Dutch auction" in March that allowed shareholders to tender stock at $12 to $14.50. In such an auction, the company determines the lowest price it can pay to acquire a previously specified number of shares.

The auction drew fire from banking analysts at Chicago-based Podesta & Co. and the Chicago-based investment firm Jackson Boulevard Partners, both of which are pushing for a sale.

The firms said the auction was a maneuver to draw like-minded investors out of the stock before shareholders vote on directors at the May 3 annual meeting. Jackson Boulevard is sponsoring a slate of candidates for the board.

- Craig Woker


Moody's Puts 1st Security, Zions Under Review

NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service said it placed under review for possible downgrade the A2 senior debt rating of First Security Corp. and the A3 subordinated debt rating of Zions Bancorp.The rating agency also said it placed under review for possible downgrade the A1 deposit ratings of Zions First National Bank and First Security Bank NA. Moody's cited the termination of the merger agreement between First Security and Zions as the reason for its rating action.

Moody's said management at both companies has been "distracted by the considerable delays and the ultimate failure of the planned merger." Moody's added that a combination of the two banking organizations would have strengthened their individual market shares in Utah and Idaho and would have broadened positions in other healthy markets throughout the West.

- Dow Jones


Pennsylvania Bank's Chief Goes to Spinoff

MONROEVILLE, Pa. - Johnstown-based U.S. Bancorp said Tuesday that Terry Dunkle has been named chairman and chief executive officer of the newly spun off Three Rivers Bank in Pittsburgh.Mr. Dunkle had been chairman, president, and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, which is not related to the big Minneapolis company by the same name.

The Pennsylvania banks were split to give Three Rivers a better shot at expanding in the Pittsburgh area, U.S. Bancorp said. Three Rivers had about $1.1 billion of assets and U.S. Bancorp $1.4 billion after the split, according to pro forma data.

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