SAN FRANCISCO -- Carl E. Reichardt's announcement that he will step down at yearend as Wells Fargo & Co.'s chairman and chief executive caps the career of a man who epitomized what it took to succeed in an era when banking got tough.

"Carl was clearly a pivotal figure in the banking business," said BankAmerica Corp. vice chairman Lewis W. Coleman, who worked with Mr. Reichardt at Wells.

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