Within hours of engineering a $15.1 billion bid for Wachovia Corp., Dick Kovacevich, Wells Fargo & Co.'s chairman, hosted a conference call with analysts to trumpet what would be the San Francisco company's biggest acquisition in a decade.Toward the end of the call Oct. 3, Mr. Kovacevich, who will turn 65 this month and had previously hinted that he would retire shortly thereafter, was asked by Christopher Mutascio, a Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst, if the deal would extend his Wells career.

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