SAN FRANCISCO - Former Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank is expected to step down soon as chairman and chief executive of Independent Bancorp of Arizona, industry sources said on Tuesday.

Mr. Frank is likely to be replaced as board chairman with someone recommended by Independent's major shareholders, the sources added.

Mr. Frank may stay on as a regular director, the sources said. The identity of candidates for chairman could not be learned.

Investors' Own Choice

The probable change is not due to dissatisfaction with the performance of Mr. Frank, a long-time thrift executive before becoming the Bush Administration's postal chief. Rather it reflects the desire of the investors to have their own choice in the chairman's slot, sources said.

"It's a normal shareholder re-action," said New York money manager Harry V. Keefe, Jr., whose partnership is among Independent's biggest shareholders. In a telephone interview, Mr. Keefe said he did not know when the change would occur.

Mr. Frank, reached by telephone, described the change as a "rumor" that "may or may not happen." A spokesman for Independent said: "We have announced no changes in our management structure."

Ueberroth an Organizer

Independent, the parent company of $1.7 billion-asset Caliber Bank, Phoenix, was the largest startup project in banking history. It opened for business earlier this year after acquiring some Arizona operations of BankAmerica Corp. The California bank company sold those operations after it merged with Security Pacific Corp.

Independent was organized by an investor group headed by California businessman Peter V. Ueberroth. Mr. Frank was the spokesman for the group and the most visible personality associated with it.

The largest stakeholders in Independent are a group of outside investors led by Mr. Keefe's partnership. Their last-minute contribution rescued the Ueberroth-Frank group's faltering bid for BankAmerica's Arizona operations.

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