Evergreen Asset Management Corp., a unit of First Union Corp., announced Monday that it has hired Jean Ledford from American Century Investments as president and chief executive officer.

Ms. Ledford will succeed Stephen Lieber, the chairman and chief executive, who will retire this year, a spokesman said.

Evergreen also hired three other people from American Century: Richard Welsh, a portfolio manager, and two analysts, Rick Petran and John Anthony.

Based in Purchase, N.Y., Evergreen Asset Management manages about $15 billion of First Union's $58 billion Evergreen Funds group. Ms. Ledford and her team will join the company in August and be responsible for managing several funds, including the Evergreen Foundation Fund and the Evergreen Fund, which combined have $5 billion of assets.

The team had managed the $7 billion American Century Select Fund, said a spokesman for the Kansas City, Mo., company. Jim Stowers 3d, American Century's chief executive, will manage the fund with Terry Foster, the remaining member of the Select Fund team, the spokesman said. American Century, a $90 billion asset manager, is 45% owned by J.P. Morgan & Co.

Mr. Lieber's retirement announcement comes just days after Nola Maddox Falcone, the president and co-chief executive, announced similar plans.

Both Mr. Lieber, 73, and Ms. Falcone, 59, are veterans of the asset management business. Charlotte, N.C.-based First Union Corp. bought Mr. Lieber's Lieber & Co. in 1994.

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