Observers said Monday's retirement of Frank L. Gentry, chief architect of Bank of America Corp.'s aggressive expansion, signaled the end of the company's most acquisitive period.

Mr. Gentry, 57, was executive vice president of corporate planning and strategy at the Charlotte, N.C., company and its predecessor, NationsBank Corp. In 27 years at the company he gained a reputation as the brains behind the higher-profile insiders who led the march across the continent that culminated in the 1998 merger with San Francisco-based BankAmerica Corp.

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