Without the usual arm twisting that has accompanied his previous attempts to control community banks and thrifts, activist shareholder Lawrence B. Seidman has been selected to become chairman of Ambanc Holding Co., of Amsterdam, N.Y.

Mr. Seidman, who was granted a seat on the $706 million-asset thrift in March 2000, will succeed retiring chairman Lauren T. Barnett, 74, on May 18, the company said last week. As chairman, Mr. Seidman said he would continue to use a strategy that has helped him succeed in forcing the sale of four of the six companies he has lead proxy fights against since 1995.

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