H. Rodgin Cohen, the merger and securities specialist who has shepherded many major bank combinations over the past two decades, has been named chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell, the New York law firm.

Mr. Cohen, 55, a partner of the firm since 1977, will succeed Ricardo A. Mestres Jr. Mr. Mestres plans to retire in line with the firm's policy of retiring at the end of the year in which a partner turns 67. He will reach that age next year and Mr. Cohen is expected to take over as chairman in the second half of 2000.

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