SAN FRANCISCO - Wells Fargo & Co. chairman Paul Hazen has announced he will not seek reelection to the board of directors and will leave the company after its April 24 board meeting.

Wells' president and chief executive officer, Richard Kovacevich, will take on the added role of chairman, the banking company said Tuesday.

"My retirement from Wells Fargo is particularly appropriate since it coincides with the completion of the integration of Wells Fargo and Norwest," Mr. Hazen said in a written statement.

Mr. Hazen is to become chairman of Accel-KKR Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif., company formed last February by private equity firms Accel Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. to help businesses integrate their offline and online operations.

Mr. Kovacevich, formerly CEO of Norwest Corp., led the Minneapolis banking company into its 1998 purchase of Wells.

Mr. Hazen is leaving before expiration of the five-year employment contract agreed to at the time of the Norwest deal. He began his 31-year career at what is now a $272 billion-asset banking company as deputy head of mortgage and equity trust, became executive vice president in 1978, vice chairman in 1981, and president and chief operating officer in 1984.

The Wells board named Mr. Hazen chairman and CEO in 1995 and chairman of the combined company in November 1998.

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