WASHINGTON - The Clinton administration named two Office of Thrift Supervision officials to high-level posts at the thrift cleanup agency.

John E. Ryan, Southeast regional director of the agency, was put in charge of day-to-day operations of the Resolution Trust Corp. Ellen Kulka, now the thrift agency's Northeast regional counsel, will become the RTC's general counsel starting Jan. 17.

The appointments were made last week.

Mr. Ryan will become interim deputy chief executive of the RTC on Jan. 4, according to a memo sent to RTC employees by interim CEO Roger C. Altman, the deputy Treasury secretary. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation, an RTC spokesman said.

Industry Pleased

The appointment of Mr. Ryan won immediate praise from the S&L community.

Robert Schmermund, a spokesman for Savings and Community Bankers of America, said, "If I were at the RTC, I'd be jumping up and down for joy. Jack is very smart. He is very knowledgeable, but he really puts a lot of faith in the people who work for him."

The administration's former nominee to head the agency, Stanley G. Tate, withdrew his nomination in late November after the Senate Banking committee refused to schedule confirmation hearings. He complained then that the RTC staff had hamstrung his nomination because they feared he would bring change and reform to the thrift cleanup agency.

Mr. Altman's announcement of the appointment said, "Jack will serve in this capacity until a full-time CEO is confirmed by the Senate and is on board."

But several sources said the administration may not bother nominating another CEO for the troubled agency because the post is a lightning rod of congressional criticism.

"They may never name anybody," one thrift source said. "This way, they don't have to jerk around and waste six months trying to go through" Senate confirmation.

Before joining the thrift agency, Mr. Ryan worked at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and at the Fed.

"We are certainly happy to see a selection for this new position," said RTC spokesman Steve Katsanos. "It will be helpful to all of the staff here to have an experienced thrift regulator overseeing day-to-day operations over here at the RTC." Mr. Ryan was not available for comment.

Separately, the Thrift Depositor Protection Oversight Board named Ira D. Hull, director of international operations for International Business Machines Corp., as chairman of its National Advisory Board. The board meets quarterly in Washington and reviews the RTC's realty disposition programs.

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