CLEVELAND -- Ohio-based National City Corp. named David A. Daberko president and chief operating officer Tuesday, placing him at the head of the line to succeed Edward B. Brandon as chief executive.

The $30 billion-asset banking company said the succession arrangement was made in contemplation of the eventual retirement of Mr. Brandon, 62, National City's current chairman and CEO.

Mr. Daberko, 48, assumed the newly created post in an apparent end to a low-key succession contest with fellow deputy chairman William R. Robertson.

Brandon Not Leaving Soon

In an interview, Mr. Brandon said the succession announcement does not mean his departure is imminent. But he left open the possibility he would retire before his 65th birthday, which comes in September 1996.

Mr. Brandon and Mr. Daberko said they foresaw no notable change in National City's strategy. Mr. Brandon said the regional banking company would continue to scout for acquisitions, but he said no negotiations are in progress.

Mr. Daberko is a 25-year veteran at National City who holds a master's degree in business administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He has been a deputy chairman of the corporation since 1987.

A Turnaround Story

The succession announcement was another milestone for Mr. Brandon, who has restored National City to the good graces of Wall Street.

The executive led an unsuccessful campaign to acquire Cleveland rival Ameritrust Corp., only to lose out to Society Corp. Then Mr. Brandon made a controversial acquisition in Indiana, buying Merchants National Corp., Indianapolis, in a long-distance deal that put off investors.

But he has rallied the company by honing credit quality, completing merger assimilations, and boosting efficiency.

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