Private Banker Quits U.S. Trust For N.Y. Rival

Mary Lehman, who helped propel U.S. Trust Corp.'s rapid growth in private banking and asset management during the 1980s, is joining Bankers Trust Co. to run its domestic private banking division.

Ms. Lehman, who told Forbes last year that she had aspirations to head the $3 billion-asset U.S. Trust, begins in her new post on Monday. She will report to Neal F. Finnegan, an executive vice president responsible for private banking worldwide.

Behind the Job Switch

Sources said Ms. Lehman, 45, may have left U.S. Trust because her domain was crowded with other ambitious private bankers, whereas Bankers Trust was hungry for a well-connected executive.

U.S. Trust reorganized its bankwide sales efforts at the beginning of the month. As head of business development in private and trust banking, Ms. Lehman would have reported to a new boss, Stephen Darby, who was hired this summer and reports to Jeffrey Maurer, the bank's president, a bank spokeswoman said.

Ms. Lehman could not be reached for comment. She has been with U.S. Trust since 1982 and is widely credited for her talents in developing new business among wealthy clients, those with $2 million or more of net worth.

Overlapping Markets

Both U.S. Trust and Bankers Trust target generally the same types of private banking clients - those in the lower to middle tier of moneyed families and small businesses.

However, Bankers Trust goes down to the $1 million level and sometimes lower.

U.S. Trust also is much more focused on trust and private banking, an area that has been something of a weak sister within the trading culture of Bankers Trust.

The companies each manage about $20 billion of assets in their private banking units, according to officials at both banks.

Industry sources said that Bankers Trust, which earlier this year laid off at least 50 people from its private banking area, hopes that Ms. Lehman can give it a stronger direction.

Sources said the division has been performing below expected targets.

In recent months, Bankers Trust has been seeking to sell to private banking clients the sophisticated hedging and risk-insurance products developed for its own portfolio and corporate clients.

At Bankers Trust, Ms. Lehman will work alongside Paul Higgins, a senior vice president in charge of international private banking. Sources said the bank recently split its previously unified sales force along domestic and international lines.

"It's a real coup for the bank," said Peggy Cohen, a vice president who will be reporting to Ms. Lehman at Bankers, which has $63 billion of assets.

At U.S. Trust, Ms. Lehman was an aggressive marketer, credited with the creation of investment seminars and several new advertising campaigns to woo new clients.

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