The head of Fleet Financial Group Inc.'s private clients group is expected to join Merrill Lynch & Co. to run its trust business.

Doris P. Meister, who joined Boston-based Fleet 17 months ago, is expected to be named chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch Trust Cos., a source said. Spokeswomen for Merrill Lynch declined to comment.

Her resignation from Fleet is effective March 19. She was not available for comment.

Ms. Meister would succeed chairman David W.S. Chambers, who has been appointed to head a new department in the private client group that will leverage successful staple products and services including the cash management account.

Merrill Lynch Trust Cos., which administers at least $7 billion of personal trust assets, has 24 offices.

Until a successor is named at Fleet, the private clients group will report to vice chairman Gunnar S. Overstrom, who oversees all of the banking company's investment management and brokerage businesses. During Ms. Meister's stint, assets under management in Fleet's private clients group rose 12.6%, to $26 billion.

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