BANKING : BankAmerica Vice Chairman to Resign : Corporate: No. 2 executive Lewis W. Coleman, passed over for the chairmanship, will leave Dec. 1.


Lewis W. Coleman, passed over for the top job at BankAmerica Corp., will resign as the company’s vice chairman and chief financial officer, the banking giant announced Tuesday.

Michael E. O’Neill, head of the San Francisco-based bank’s global equity investments unit and former chief financial officer of Continental Bank Corp., will succeed Coleman, BankAmerica announced.

Coleman, 53, popular among banking analysts for his candor, said in a statement that his career objectives “are best pursued outside of the company and--with the transition to new management--now is the appropriate time for me to make a change.”

As BankAmerica’s No. 2 executive, Coleman was considered the front-runner to succeed Chairman and Chief Executive Richard M. Rosenberg, who retires next year. However, the company’s board of directors instead chose David A. Coulter as the new chairman and chief executive.


Coleman said he expects to make a decision on his next career move “in the near future.” He could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but two people who know him said he was strongly considering an investment banking job. His resignation is effective Dec. 1.

O’Neill, 49, arrived at BankAmerica with its September, 1994, buyout of Continental.

Although O’Neill declined comment on specific deals--either Wells Fargo & Co.'s pending takeover battle for First Interstate Bancorp or the long-rumored potential alliance between BankAmerica and NationsBank Corp.--he said in an interview Tuesday that he considers most bank mergers overpriced these days.

“Our sense is this may be a good time to sit on the sidelines,” O’Neill said, adding that the new job will involve “building shareholder value by improving the businesses we’ve got.”