Henry Schulthesz, an executive vice president and head of bank distribution at Kemper Funds in Chicago, has left the company.

Mr. Schulthesz, a well-known figure in the industry who had been at Kemper since 1984, departed Oct. 16 "to pursue other interests," a company spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman declined to give further details and said company executives had no further comment on the development.

Messages left for Mr. Schulthesz at his home were not returned.

People in the industry, including bank brokerage chiefs and executives at other fund companies, said they were were surprised at the news.

Though Kemper has had its ups and downs over the years in managing money and selling through banks and other institutions, Mr. Schulthesz is a respected figure.

After joining the company, he rose through its ranks to become executive vice president in charge of bank distribution three years ago.

Kemper sold $825 million through banks last year. So far this year, it's on a pace to exceed that total by 20%.

The company remains committed to its bank sales business, the spokeswoman said.

"We have a very strong team in place, and we're confident we'll continue to build on our relationship with banks," she said.

Kemper was one of the biggest fund sellers through banks as recently as 1992, when it had bank sales of $2.7 billion.

It was hurt by the bond market crash of 1994, poor equity fund performance, and management turnover. The company was bought by Zurich Insurance Group in 1996.

Mr. Schulthesz oversaw about a dozen wholesalers and had been working to reestablish relationships with large banks where Kemper had fallen off the preferred mutual fund provider list.

The company successfully revived relationships with banking companies including Chase Manhattan Corp., U.S. Bancorp, and Washington Mutual Inc., Mr. Schulthesz said in an interview this spring.

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