PNC Bank Corp. has replaced a veteran banker at the helm of its flagship Pittsburgh bank with another company yeoman.

Sylvan M. "Sy" Holzer, 48, was named president and chief executive officer of PNC Bank, Pittsburgh. He took his new role Monday, succeeding Edward V. "Ned" Randall Jr., a 33-year veteran of PNC who retired at 65.

Mr. Randall "had a loyal following of people who came up through the branch network," including Mr. Holzer, said PNC spokesman Jonathan Williams.

Mr. Holzer has "worked so closely with Ned Randall throughout his career that his succession of Ned is a natural," said Mr. Williams.

Mr. Holzer, a 26-year veteran of the company, is responsible for customer relationships in the increasingly competitive southwestern Pennsylvania market.

While the importance of a bank president has diminished in recent years as banking companies centralize their organizations, Pittsburgh is still an important market to PNC as it tries to maintain good community relationships.

"The fiber of PNC is the communities we live in," Mr. Holzer said. "It is very much our responsibility to promote community involvement."

The $73.3 billion-asset PNC, Pittsburgh's biggest banking company, has dominated southwestern Pennsylvania for years along with rival Mellon Bank Corp., which has $43 billion of assets. National City Corp. of Cleveland entered the market through acquisition of Integra Financial Corp. in May 1996 and has intensified competition.

Mr. Holzer said he believes Pittsburgh has always been a competitive banking market. PNC Bank, Pittsburgh does business in 10 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania. He'll oversee 7,600 employees and 136 branches.

Both Mr. Holzer and Mr. Randall spent their entire PNC careers in the headquarters city. Mr. Holzer started as a management trainee in 1971. He was named executive vice president of commercial banking in 1994 and in 1996 was put in charge of middle-market lending, health care, higher education, and the public finance segment of corporate banking.

Mr. Randall was named chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh bank three years ago.

He started at PNC in 1964 as an assistant cashier and worked his way up to senior vice president in 1968 and head of community banking in 1972.

Mr. Randall will remain chairman of the PNC Bank Foundation, a companywide charitable organization, for the remainder of the year.

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