There's cost-cutting, and then there are efficiency gains. Understanding the difference helped William I. Cornett Jr. win a handsome promotion at Cleveland-based National City Corp.

Formerly head of retail banking at National City's outpost in Louisville, Ky., Mr. Cornett recently landed the top retail post at National City's lead bank. He did it by taking a leading role in the company's Vision efficiency project. Enlisted last fall in a campaign to trim annual expenses by up to $100 million, Mr. Cornett found the exercise to his liking.

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