In a somewhat surprising move, Keycorp held a joint press conference with the governor of New York, celebrating the bank's decision to put its northeastern regional headquarters in Albany, N.Y.

Keycorp, based in Albany before it merged last year and moved to Society Corp.'s home city of Cleveland, now employs 7,200 people in New York. Before the merger, Keycorp had 8,200 New York employees.

But the irony appeared to be lost on the creators of the media event staged Wednesday in the state capital.

Richard Molyneux, the newly named head of the bank's northeastern region, pointed out that he had nothing to do with the city selection. "I was not involved in that process of determining which cities were considered. But the correct choice was made," he said.

"We've got the infrastructure here in facilities and in people. We already have a very large critical mass domiciled here. And the business climate has improved dramatically in New York State."

New York Gov. George Pataki described how "very disappointed and disheartened" he was a year ago when Keycorp decided to move its headquarters to Cleveland.

He implied that since his election in November, a change in the state's "business attitude" seemed to be responsible for Keycorp's choice of Albany as its northeastern headquarters. "We are very gratified by this expression of confidence by Keycorp," he said.

A Keycorp employee for 21 years and most recently the head of Keycorp's Maine subsidiary, Mr. Molyneux, 45, was named head of the northeast region and the $14.3 billion-asset New York subsidiary on Monday. His appointment pushed aside another 21-year Keycorp veteran, James P. Menzies, 46, who resigned "to pursue other interests." Mr. Menzies could not be reached for comment.

Keycorp spokesman Herb Knoll said the decline in the bank's New York State work force was largely due to the sale to NationsBankof its Buffalo- based mortgage servicing unit earlier this year. "Sure, we lost some employees when we moved the headquarters to Cleveland," he said, "but most of it was due to the mortgage company."

In a related move Monday, Keycorp named Michael McNamara, 50, president and chief executive of Key Bank of Maine, replacing Mr. Molyneux. The Maine subsidiary has $3.8 billion of assets.

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