Paul S. White, with his English accent and wide lapels, wouldn't draw a second glance at a U.S. money-center bank, or even a superregional like First Union Corp. But at SunTrust Banks Inc. he represents a revolution of sorts.

Mr. White, formerly with Barclays Bank International, is one of only a handful of high-level SunTrust executives to be hired from outside the bank since the mid-1980s. As senior vice president and managing director of SunTrust Capital Markets Inc., he's been put in charge of building up a derivatives operation, a major departure for the Atlanta-based bank company.

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