The mutual fund chief at Wilmington Trust Corp. has quit amid a reorganization of investment management operations.

Peter J. Succoso, formerly senior vice president of the investment management department, left Nov. 7, a spokesman for the Delaware bank said.

Reached by telephone at his home in Hockessin, Del., Mr. Succoso said he had left voluntarily. He declined to give reasons or discuss his plans.

The bank spokesman said Mr. Succoso had "philosophical differences over the direction of the overall asset management business. He felt he would move on."

Wilmington Trust, an old-line banking company best known for personal trust services, has moved aggressively into money management in recent years.

It is perhaps the most completely integrated bank mutual fund player in the United States. The bank manages, administers, and even distributes its own mutual funds, thanks to its state charter and a favorable nod from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. nearly three years ago.

Mr. Succoso was widely credited with helping Wilmington Trust build the mutual fund unit, which has gone on to sell its services to other fund companies.

"He was certainly a major participant in the success at the Wilmington bank," said mutual fund consultant Geoffrey H. Bobroff in East Greenwich, R.I.

However, the bank's money management efforts hit some rough patches in 1994. The bank poured almost $4 million into two money market funds to cover derivatives losses. The spokesman said those losses played no role in Mr. Succoso's departure.

Mr. Succoso was responsible for the $4.8 billion-asset banking company's broker-dealer and for management of institutional stock and fixed-income trust assets totaling $17 billion. He also headed Rodney Square Management Corp., which manages the company's $2.1 billion mutual fund family.

He was highly visible as president of the Bank Securities Association in 1994.

Wilmington Trust is consolidating institutional asset management within the personal trust area, the spokesman said. The combined function will report to a chief investment officer, who has yet to be named.

Bank executives are "talking to people now" and expect to announce their decision about the position within a few weeks, the spokesman said.

The broker-dealer unit previously managed by Mr. Succoso has been placed in the hands of Hugh D. Leahy Jr., senior vice president for retail banking.

Mr. Succoso's exit surprised a number of industry observers.

"Peter Succoso is one of the most talented bank securities executives in the country," said Robert M. Kurucza, general counsel to the Bank Securities Association. "I hope he decides to stay in the industry."

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