Joseph S. DiMartino is emerging as the front-runner for the post of chairman of the Dreyfus Mutual Fund boards.

Mr. DiMartino is also expected to be named director of the Dreyfus Laurel Funds, Dreyfus Corp., and Mellon Bank Corp.'s merged funds families. His nomination to these two posts will be voted on during board meetings over the next six weeks.

Mr. DiMartino was previously Dreyfus' president and a board member for both the New York-based mutual fund company and Pittsburgh-based Mellon Bank.

He terminated those duties Dec. 31, because "when Dreyfus and Mellon merged, the Glass-Steagall Act required his resignation from those boards," explained Howard Stein, chairman of Dreyfus.

Starting as a portfolio manager in 1971, Mr. DiMartino rose to the position of president in 1982. Pending approval by the boards, he is expected to begin his new job during the first quarter, Mr. Stein said in a prepared statement.

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