Samuel B. Hayes 3d, president of NationsBank West, said he will retire on March 31.

Mr. Hayes, 60, was president of St. Louis-based Boatmen's Bancshares, which NationsBank acquired last month. Prior to the merger's completion, NationsBank said Mr. Hayes would play an integral part in the management of the company.

But in a prepared statement, Mr. Hayes said: "Our success in achieving the goals of the transition have been even greater than anyone could have expected, so I now have an earlier opportunity to get on with the next phase of my life."

In announcing his retirement, Mr. Hayes, who oversees NationsBank's operations in eight midwestern and southwestern states, said he had planned to retire Dec. 31, although those plans had not been made public. He'll receive $3.3 million according to a severance agreement contained in a Dec. 20 proxy statement.

Mr. Hayes said through a bank spokeswoman that he plans to spend the next few months evaluating his future plans.

NationsBank officials said Mr. Hayes' position will not be filled. Rather, the two men who reported to him-David Darnell, president of NationsBank Midwest, and Tim Arnoult, president of NationsBank Southwest- will report directly to NationsBank president Kenneth D. Lewis.

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