More than three months after the head of its private client services group resigned, Fleet Financial Group continues to search for a successor.

Michael C. Noble, 45, left Fleet in May after more than 20 years with the bank. In an interview this week, Mr. Noble said he is looking for a job outside the banking industry.

"I had been at Fleet for 23 years. It was a very good long career at a very good company. It was time personally in my career to try something new," he said.

Mr. Noble said he is considering running a small business, getting more involved with charities, or working in higher education.

In the meantime, Fleet's private client services division, which has $27 billion of assets under management, is being overseen by Fleet vice chairman Gunnar Overstrom. One of the private bank's five regional managers, Roger Ball in Boston, is handling day-to-day management.

Under Mr. Noble, Mr. Ball covered Maine, eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island-a responsibility he retains. Mr. Noble, who was based in Providence, R.I., created a regional management system for the private client unit, under which trust bankers, investment managers, and lenders all reported to regional managers.

Mr. Noble is credited with combining the private client groups of Fleet and Shawmut National Corp. in New England as well as in the New York area, where the Boston-based company picked up a franchise from London's National Westminster Bank.

"I felt we had come through a phase in the redirection of the private banking operations," Mr. Noble said. "A lot of that had been completed."

Besides serving as a managing director of Fleet Investment Services, Mr. Noble held other senior management positions at Fleet, including head of credit administration and international banking.

Mr. Noble's resignation "was kind of a surprise-it was strictly a decision he made on his own," said James Mahoney, a spokesman for Fleet. "He decided he wanted to take another direction and take some time with that."

Mr. Mahoney declined to discuss the status of the search.

Yet Mr. Noble had advice for his future replacement. "You are dealing with a large, multifaceted operation and have to have an appreciation of the high-net-worth customers and for the competitors," he said.

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