Keycorp's brokerage chief, John P. Mastriani, is stepping down after 20 years with the company.

Mr. Mastriani, who joined the company fresh out of college and briefly oversaw its trust, brokerage, and insurance business lines, gave notice last week.

He plans to join C.L. King, a small investment firm in Albany, N.Y., as executive vice president.

The 41-year-old executive passed up a chance to move to Cleveland with Keycorp earlier this year, when the company merged with Society Corp. and moved its headquarters from Albany.

He cited personal reasons for his decision to remain in Albany. While the choice meant that he had to relinquish his oversight of Keycorp's trust and insurance units, he was awarded the job of president and chief executives of both companies' brokerage units.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Mastriani said he felt it was time for a change. "It was a difficult decision," he said, adding, "this is the opportunity to do something more entrepreneurial."

Felice L. Larmer, senior vice president of Keycorp's insurance management group, is said to be the front-runner to replace Mr. Mastriani.

Officials at the banking company confirmed they are searching internally for Mr. Mastriani's successor, but declined further comment. Ms. Larmer, who joined Keycorp earlier this year from Pacific First Bank, in Seattle, could not be reached for comment.

The resignation is the latest to hit mutual fund and annuity sales programs at big banks. This summer, BankAmerica Corp. BancOne, and Boatmen's Bancshares all saw their retail investment products chiefs depart.

Mr. Mastriani was something of a fair-had boy at Keycorp, joining the company fresh from Albany's Union College as a management trainee in 1974.

In January 1993, he was named chairman of the bank's brokerage and life insurance units and chief executive of the trust and investment management unit.

At that time, Ralph M. Carestio, to whom Mr. Mastriani reports, described him as "a real homegrown product who has proven himself time and again."

Mr. Carestio was traveling last week and could not be reached for comment. But a spokesman for Keycorp said Mr. Mastriani will be missed.

Keycorp continues to have big plans for its retail investment program.

The $63.4 billion-asset banking company offers its two proprietary mutual fund families and other investment products through its 1,300 branches.

Keycorp also has begun selling life insurance products to its retail customers, and is teaming with Putnam Financial Services, a Boston-based mutual fund company, to create a family of proprietary variable annuities.

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