Montgomery Securities on Monday named former BankAmerica Corp. chief financial officer Lewis W. Coleman co-head of investment banking and senior managing director.

Mr. Coleman, 53, resigned from BankAmerica in mid-November, months after being passed over for the megabank's top spot. David Coulter is to become chief executive when Richard Rosenberg leaves in January.

Mr. Coleman, who will head Montgomery's investment banking group with Joseph Schell, will be responsible for oversight of the firm's financial services, real estate, and fixed income groups.

He will also direct corporate planning and new business activities within investment banking, and assist in the company's strategic direction as a member of its executive committee.

"Lew is among the nation's leading figures in the financial services industry, and he will be central to the continued growth and success of Montgomery," said Thomas W. Weisel, the San Francisco-based firm's founder, chairman, and chief executive.

While at BankAmerica, Mr. Coleman emerged as one of the most respected bank financial officers in the country, helping guide the San Francisco- based giant from the brink of failure in the mid-1980s to its current status as one of the nation's financial powerhouses.

In his last year at BankAmerica, he publicly voiced doubt about the profitability of expanding through acquisitions.

BankAmerica, which has reportedly been in on-again, off-again merger talks with NationsBank Corp., has been noticeably absent from this year's wave of bank mergers.

The hire should lend credibility to Montgomery's efforts to compete with Wall Street firms.

And it should bolster the 25-year-old firm's financial institutions group, which is currently advising Wells Fargo & Co. on its hostile bid for First Interstate Bancorp.

The group placed third among all bank advisers in 1994, according to American Banker's rankings.

A native of San Francisco, Mr. Coleman holds an economics degree from Stanford University.

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