National Westminster Bancorp has named John A. Petts president and chief executive officer of its New Jersey bank.

He succeeds L. Douglas O'Brien, who on May 22 resigned his posts at Jersey City-based National Westminster Bank N.J. and as senior executive vice president of the New York parent.

The company did not say why Mr. O'Brien, an employee since 1982, had left. He could not be reached for comment.

National Westminster Bancorp, with $22 billion in assets, operates more than 260 branch offices in New York and New Jersey. It returned to profitability in the first quarter after a string of losses.

A spokesman declined to provide separate figures for the New Jersey unit but said it was profitable in the first quarter.

However, the unit had been harmed by the downturn in the state's real estate market, and a push for middle-market business proved disappointing.

Mr. Petts remains a senior executive vice president at the New York holding company, with responsibilities in its finance and strategy sector.

He came to New York-based National Westminster Bank U.S.A. in 1979 from the British parent company, National Westminster Bank PLC, having worked in its domestic and international banking divisions.

Three group heads in the New Jersey bank's retail sector who reported to Mr. O'Brien will now report to Tony Warren, the New York parent's chief operating officer.

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