National City Corp., looking to rejuvenate its retail banking business and put a stronger focus on its capital markets activities, announced a shuffling of its senior executive ranks Tuesday.
The Cleveland banking company said that, along with the personnel changes, it will create a capital markets group to oversee such areas as venture capital, commercial finance, and investment banking.
National City acknowledged this year that it needed to reinvigorate revenue and earnings growth. Wall Street analysts were generally supportive of the changes, but some industry observers had expressed a desire to see whether some new faces from outside the company might better help accelerate the turnaround.
Instead, in assembling the new lineup National City drew solely on a handful of long-term executives to fill the top management posts.
The company named A. Joseph Parker, a 23-year veteran Nat City who had been executive vice president in charge of consumer finance, to head its retail sales and distribution efforts. Mr. Parker, 45, will succeed James R. Bell 3d, 43, who will move out of retail to take the helm of the new capital markets group. Mr. Bell has worked for the company for 18 years.
"This is a very important decision relative to improving our sales and service efforts for corporate clients," chairman and chief executive David Daberko said in a press statement about the capital markets group. "Housing these specialists in one unit and harnessing their shared expertise will allow us to generate higher levels of fee income and invest capital in our clients more effectively."
Mr. Daberko was not available for further comment.
In addition, Jeffrey D. Kelly, 46, an executive vice president in charge of investments and specialized industries with 21 years at the company, will become chief financial officer. He will succeed and report to Robert G. Siefers, who will relinquish the CFO title but remain a vice chairman.
Analysts said they view the CFO and retail appointments as largely positive.
"Joe Parker has done a very good job with some of the consumer finance divisions at National City," said Timothy Willi, an analyst with A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis. He said the company's strength in its credit cards business is due largely to Mr. Parker's involvement. "I think he has a pretty good track record."
Mr. Kelly was recently involved in National City's efforts to restructure its balance sheet, Mr. Willi said. The company sold a large piece of its student loan portfolio, securities, and certain adjustable-rate mortgages to reduce its exposure to rising interest rates.
"He seems to be increasingly active in recent decisions," Mr. Willi said.
Joseph Duwan, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., said Mr. Kelly has "had a range of duties at National City and will be well received by the Street."
Retail banking, the biggest contributor to National City's earnings, is seen as needing the most help. The changes on one level suggest the company recognized that it needed new leadership in the retail business, sources familiar with the company said. Several noted that the retail bank had been the source of previous earnings disappointments.
"I think Mr. Daberko has awakened to the reality that his company is primarily a retail company," one source said of the retail change.
With the exception of naming a successor to Mr. Parker in the consumer finance area - which National City expects to do by yearend - the changes will take effect Aug. 15.
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