Dec. 21, 2:00 P.M.-- John B. McCoy resigned Tuesday as chairman and chief executive officer of Bank One Corp., ending months of speculation about his future at the company after a series of earnings disappointments.

Bank One president Verne G. Istock was named acting CEO, effective immediately, as the company's board of directors searches for a permanent replacement.

Bank One director John R. Hall was named nonexecutive board chairman. He retired in 1997 as chairman of Ashland Inc.

William P. Boardman, whom Mr. McCoy recently put in charge of the First USA credit card business in Wilmington, Del., that has been largely responsible for the earnings shortfall, retains that responsibility. He was elevated from senior executive vice president to vice chairman and a director.

The installation of an interim CEO is certain to raise further questions about Chicago-based Bank One's leadership, strategic direction, and perhaps its future as an independent company. Bank One said its management still intends to make a presentation to analysts and investors in New York in January.

Check back with American Banker after 10 p.m. for the full story.

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