The next step for merger partners Banc One Corp. and First Chicago NBD Corp. is to further sort out management, a daunting task considering the companies do not want to lose top talent.

Based on the initial management chart released on the day last month that the proposed merger was announced, Banc One executives snagged important positions in retail banking, credit cards, and middle-market lending.

Thomas H. Jeffs 2d, 59, who now heads retail banking at First Chicago, has said he would retire when the merger is complete, which leaves 46-year- old Kenneth T. Stevens, Banc One's energetic, marketing-savvy retail chief, squarely in charge.

On the credit-card side, W.G. Jurgensen will be displaced, but most observers predicted he would land elsewhere in the new company. Mr. Jurgensen, 46, has held a number of positions at First Chicago and was put in charge of the merger integration of First Chicago and NBD Bancorp in 1995.

A longtime Norwest Corp. banker, Mr. Jurgensen was hired by First Chicago in 1990 as chief financial officer. He was named head of First Card, First Chicago's credit card, in October 1996. Richard W. Vague, 42, who runs Banc One's First USA unit, is slated to lead credit card operations at the new company, to be known as Banc One.

David P. Bolger, president of American National Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago, a First Chicago unit, and an executive vice president of the holding company in charge of Illinois regional banking, is a rising star at First Chicago. But the 40-year-old Mr. Bolger was not named to a position in the combined company on the day the deal was announced.

American National, a subsidiary catering to midsize companies, would vanish in the new Banc One. Middle-market lending is to be headed by Banc One executive and veteran Texas banker Ronald G. Steinhart, 57. Observers said Mr. Bolger would likely continue to be involved with middle-market lending, though.

The expected retirement upon completion of the deal of Andrew J. Paine Jr., 60, an executive vice president in charge of First Chicago's Indiana operations and private banking and investments, will leave room for a Banc One executive to head investment products.

David J. Kundert, 55, chairman and chief executive of Banc One investment management-part of Banc One Capital Holdings Group-figures to be a prominent player in the new trust and investment area of the combined company.

David R. Meuse, 53, chairman of Banc One Capital Holdings, would likely keep his current job or get a similar position in the new Banc One, observers said. Mr. Meuse's group includes investment banking, merchant banking, securities brokerage, investment advisory, and insurance activities.

Philip S. Jones, the First Chicago executive vice president in charge of insurance and operations, will have a prominent role in the implementation of the merger, but has not been named to a job in the new organization. The 55-year-old Mr. Jones has been appointed an interim advisor on management structure for the combined company.

The other merger implementation leader is Thomas E. Hoaglin, 49, who earned his stripes at Banc One by heading its three-year restructuring program, Project One. Mr. Hoaglin has been named head of operations at the new Banc One.

In this new position, Mr. Hoaglin will likely get support from one of two technology officers. They are: William H. Elliott 3d, 56, First Chicago's executive vice president and chief information and technology officer, and Banc One chief technology officer Marvin W. Adams, 40.

Some prominent Banc One executives were left out of the top management lineup. Chief financial officer Michael J. McMennamin, 53, will be replaced by First Chicago CFO Robert A. Rosholt, 48. Banc One general counsel Steven Allen Bennett, 45, will be replaced by First Chicago general counsel Sherman Goldberg, 55.

As in any merger, there can only be one chief for each position, observers pointed out.

"It's unfortunate choices have to be made because generally you have two very qualified people for a job," said Kevin Connelly, an executive recruiter for Spencer Stuart in Chicago.

The day the merger was announced, the companies revealed a chart of 16 executives-half from each company. Sometime this month, additional executives are expected to be named to other lines of business and operational jobs.

The issue of appointments at the combined company is so sensitive that no one from either Banc One or First Chicago, including spokesmen, would speak on the record about it.

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