The board of governors of the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. has elected former federal energy czar and Smith Barney chairman Frank G. Zarb as the organization's president and chief executive officer, effective Feb. 24.

Mr. Zarb succeeds Joseph R. Hardiman, who is retiring on Friday after nearly 10 years of service to the trade association as president and CEO.

Mr. Zarb had been chairman, president, and CEO of Alexander & Alexander Services Inc., which recently was acquired by the insurance firm Aon Corp.

Prior to joining Alexander & Alexander in 1994, Mr. Zarb was vice chairman and group chief executive of The Travelers Inc. From 1988-93, he was chairman, president, and CEO, of Smith Barney; and from 1977-88 he was a general partner of Lazard Freres & Co.

Mr. Zarb served from 1974-77 as administrator of the Federal Energy Administration.

He also served as executive director of the cabinet level Energy Resources Council and as associate director of the Office of Management and Budget and assistant secretary of labor.

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