NationsBank Corp.'s acquisition of Boatmen's Bancshares may or may not bring all the financial benefits promised. But it surely solidifies the heir-apparent status of NationsBank's No. 2 executive, president Kenneth D. Lewis.

Mr. Lewis, 49, will have most of the old Boatmen's organization reporting to him in Charlotte when the deal closes next January. A recent organizational scheme announced by NationsBank placed under his control NationsBank West, which includes all the Boatmen's territory plus NationsBank's existing Texas operation. Mr. Lewis will also oversee the combined asset management business, based in St. Louis.

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