The new Firstar Corp. is starting to look a lot like the old Star Banc Corp.

Star, which was based in Cincinnati, bought Firstar last month and adopted it name and hometown, Milwaukee. "The structure we're putting in place is more of the Star Banc structure," said Steven Dale, spokesman for the $38 billion-asset company.

That means job titles and responsibilities will mirror the obsessively cost-efficient Star Banc. The company will operate its businesses under three lines: commercial, retail, and trust. The Star Banc name will be eliminated in the first half of next year when the two companies' computer systems are combined.

Vice chairman Richard K. Davis now heads retail operations from Cincinnati. Formerly an executive vice president at Star Banc, he is the highest-ranking executive to remain in Ohio. Most of the people Mr. Davis now supervises are former Star bankers.

Commercial banking and trust executives will report to John A. Becker, vice chairman and chief operating officer, formerly Firstar's president and chief operating officer.

Seven of Firstar's top 13 executives have left or plan to leave and four of its directors have been removed from the board. By contrast, all of Star's 14 top executives and 18 directors remain.

The most notable Firstar departure from the board is C. Paul Johnson, who had been pushing for a sale of the company. The former chairman of First Colonial Bankshares, Mr. Johnson joined the board when his company was acquired by Firstar.

Also gone from the board are: Mr. Becker; Roger H. Derusha, chairman of Marinette Marine Corp.; and James H. Keyes, chairman of Johnson Controls Inc.

Though most of the top job decisions were made early, there continue to be some surprises. Steven R. Parish, a former Firstar executive tapped to head trust, left last week. Daniel B. Benhase, a former Star executive, will take over his responsibilities.

Last month, Richard W. Schoenke, a former senior executive vice president of commercial banking at Firstar, said he would resign at yearend. Mr. Schoenke was not offered a top commercial banking post in the new Firstar. Howard H. Hopwood 3d, senior vice president and general counsel, who was offered a job with the new company, also left last month.

Other top Firstar executives were laid off, including: Jon H. Stowe, executive vice president of acquisitions; Dennis R. Fredrickson, senior vice president of human resources; Larry A. Greves, senior vice president of operations; and Jeffrey B. Weeden, chief financial officer.

In some cases two jobs are being filled by one person. For instance, David M. Moffett, vice chairman and former No. 2 at Star, will be both chief financial officer and head of acquisitions.

Fred Cummings, an analyst with McDonald Investments Inc., said defections, such as Mr. Parish's, could hurt revenue. But, he said, the new structure will help Firstar meet cost goals. He said chief executive officer Jerry A. Grundhofer has indicated expense reductions would exceed early projections of $174 million.

Much of the expense cuts will come from job eliminations.

Analysts estimate job cuts of at least 1,400, or about 10% of the combined company's total. Positions are being cut in both Milwaukee and Cincinnati.

Now, "there's a whole lot less middle-management in Firstar's headquarters building," said Ben Crabtree, an analyst with Dain Rauscher Inc., Minneapolis.

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