James J. McDermott Jr. has been named chairman and chief executive officer of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., the Wall Street brokerage firm specializing in banking and financial services.

Mr. McDermott, 46, who has been president and chief operating offcer since 1990, will succeed Charles H. Lott on Jan. 1.

Mr. Lott is the last active member of the group that founded Keefe Bruyette in 1962 under the leadership of Harry V. Keefe Jr. He will remain a shareholder and director and will become chairman of the firm's asset management subsidiary, Keefe Management Services.

Joseph J. Berry, 50, who heads the firm's sales and trading operations, will succeed Mr. McDermott as president and chief operating officer. Stanley T. Wells, who heads the Keefe office in Hartford, Conn., has been elevated to vice chairman.

Mr. McDermott has been with the firm since 1977 and served as research director from 1982 to 1990.

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