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FLEET RESTRUCTURES MANAGEMENT ALONG FUNCTIONAL LINES AS FOUR ARE PROMOTED TO TOP-LEVEL POSITIONS; GREATER EFFICIENCIES EXPECTED

 PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- In anticipation of accelerated growth, Fleet Financial Group (NYSE: FLT) today announced a major reorganization of its management structure with the promotion of four senior executives to head broad functional units corporatewide.
 Terrence Murray, chairman, president and chief executive officer, described the reorganization as "a streamlining of Fleet's management structure, with fewer reporting lines that should greatly improve operating efficiencies and lines of communication. It is the next logical step in our company's progression toward greater functional control in recent years."
 The reorganization "essentially follows functional product lines, replacing a matrix-style management structure that served us well in the past but has become too cumbersome in today's fast-changing banking and financial services industry," Murray said.
 "We believe the new management alignment is innovative, sets the pace for change in our industry, and will provide numerous immediate benefits. It is a simplified structure designed to make Fleet more sensitive to customers, more flexible and quicker to react to their needs, better able to stay ahead of a changing environment, and more responsive to the marketplace," Murray said.
 "Perhaps as important, our slimmed-down management structure prepares Fleet to take advantage of full national interstate branch banking, which we believe will soon be a reality," Murray added.
 Elected today by the board of directors as vice chairmen were Robert J. Higgins, H. Jay Sarles and Michael R. Zucchini. At the same time, Eugene M. McQuade was appointed an executive vice president. He will succeed John W. Flynn as the corporation's chief financial officer at the end of June, when Flynn's early retirement, which he elected and announced last August, takes effect.
 Prior to these appointments, Higgins, 47, was chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet Bank, N.A., Hartford, Conn., encompassing Fleet Bank of Connecticut and the former Connecticut Bank and Trust Co., and he continues to hold those positions. He will continue to be based in Hartford. Higgins also had been an executive vice president of Fleet Financial Group and chairman of Fleet Bank-R.I.
 Sarles, 48, had been president and chief executive officer of Fleet Banking Group, which owns the former Bank of New England units in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and he was an executive vice president of the corporation with responsibility for Fleet Bank-R.I. and Fleet's corporate development function. He will be based at corporate headquarters in Providence.
 Zucchini, 46, had been an executive vice president and chief information officer of Fleet Financial Group, responsible for data processing and bank operations, mortgage banking, student loan processing, payroll processing and insurance processing. He will continue to be the corporation's senior technology officer.
 McQuade, 43, had been senior vice president, finance, of Fleet Financial Group, responsible for the corporation's audit, control, insurance and tax functions.
 In addition, John B. Robinson, Jr., 45, has taken on additional corporate responsibilities for government banking and Fleet Securities (municipal securities dealer).
 In addition to these corporate appointments, Richard A. Higginbotham, 45, was elected president of Fleet Bank-R.I. yesterday by that bank's board of directors. Higginbotham, who is a vice president of the corporation responsible for Managed Asset Division, also will continue in that capacity and will take on additional corporate duties.
 Thomas J. Skala, 49, who had been president and chief executive officer of Fleet Bank-R.I., was elected chairman and chief executive officer of that bank.


Organization by Function
 While a significant number of reporting relationships are being revised as a result of the corporation's functional reorganization, as detailed later in this announcement, the most profound and innovative change affects Fleet's banking franchise throughout the Northeast.
 Under the former matrix management structure, all consumer banking and commercial banking functions were directed by one of Fleet's seven bank management teams and by senior executives at the corporate level.
 As a result of the functional reorganization, responsibility for Fleet's entire consumer banking franchise, encompassing more than 1,000 offices in over 40 states, is now assigned to Vice Chairman Michael R. Zucchini. Similarly, the corporation's entire commercial banking franchise now reports to Vice Chairman Robert J. Higgins.
 In most cases, the presidents of Fleet's banks will devote their full attention to developing the commercial banking franchises in their respective markets. Several bank presidents also will assume new corporate duties, reporting to the appropriate corporate executive. These assignments will be made known over the next few months.
 "Freed from their consumer banking responsibilities, the bank presidents will be better able to focus their considerable talents and abilities on meeting the credit and other financial needs of small and middle-market businesses throughout the Northeast," Murray said.
 "The other side of that coin," he continued, "is that Fleet's consumer banking franchise in each of the markets we serve will receive the undivided attention of knowledgeable consumer banking executives, centrally directed by Mike Zucchini, making Fleet better able to develop and deliver new products in response to the ever-changing requirements of individuals and families who are becoming increasingly sophisticated financially."
 In addition, the corporation's Products and Services Division, responsible for product development and marketing, will be divided into two units, one focusing on consumer products and services and one that will concentrate exclusively on commercial products and services.


Responsibilities in Detail
 -- Robert J. Higgins has been given responsibility for Fleet's entire commercial franchise: Commercial banking at all Fleet banks (with bank presidents reporting to him in their expanded commercial banking roles), commercial and industrial lending, commercial real estate lending, asset-based lending, leasing, factoring, managed assets, cash management, loan syndication, trade services, Fleet Securities (municipal securities dealer), government banking, and the new commercial products and services unit.
 -- H. Jay Sarles assumes responsibility for: Strategic planning; mergers and acquisitions; chairmanship of the Asset and Liability Committee; Fleet Investment Services, Fleet Investment Advisors and Fleet Brokerage Securities (investment management and discount brokerage services); private banking; venture capital, and RECOLL Management Corp. (asset management and collection). In addition, three staff divisions - - Corporate Communications, Human Resources and Legal -- all of which provide services corporatewide, will report administratively to Sarles.
 -- Michael R. Zucchini takes on responsibility for Fleet's entire consumer franchise: Consumer banking at all Fleet banks, operations and technology, Fleet Mortgage Group (mortgage banking), Fleet Finance (consumer finance), AFSA Data Corp. (student loan processing), the new consumer products and services unit, and corporate advertising. He also will direct the corporation's programs and initiatives related to meeting requirements of the federal Community Reinvestment and Home Mortgage Disclosure Acts.
 -- Eugene M. McQuade will assume responsibility for the corporation's entire financial operations: Financial accounting, operations and control, corporate finance activities, financial management information and profitability, corporate treasury, capital markets and securitization activities, and the corporation's $13-billion portfolio. In addition, McQuade will oversee compliance functions corporatewide and the audit department will report to him administratively.
 Murray also announced that, because the reorganization has consolidated their functions, two Fleet vice chairmen, Charles W. Carey and Robert L. Mushkin, as well as Robert I. Weisberg, president of Fleet Credit Corp. (leasing and asset-based lending), are leaving the company.
 "Charley Carey, Bob Mushkin and Bob Weisberg achieved distinguished careers with Fleet, spanning 21, 18 and 8 years, respectively. Their contributions during the corporation's most significant period of growth, and its rise to national prominence, were considerable. We wish them well in their future pursuits," Murray said.


Additional Benefits
 In addition to the benefits noted earlier, Fleet's functional reorganization is "a healthy and constructive effort to rationalize our cost structure and our delivery systems," Murray said.
 "We believe that several major corporate goals will be achieved more quickly and easily as a result of the clear separation of our consumer and commercial franchises," Murray stated. These goals include:
 -- Aggressively pursue the consumer banking mass market in the Northeast;
 -- Build a special relationship in meeting the financial needs of affluent consumers in the Northeast;
 -- Aggressively pursue the small business sector in the Northeast;
 -- Enhance Fleet's existing profitable and competitive position with middle-market companies in the Northeast;
 -- Expand outside the Northeast in both Fleet's consumer and commercial franchises;
 -- Expand fee-based information and transaction processing for businesses and governments.
 "Fleet's management reorganization is an important first step in achieving these ambitious goals. It puts the right people in place -- executives with exceptional talent and energy -- to get the job done. Backed by more than 27,000 equally able and energized employees nationwide, we are confident that this management team will lead Fleet to extraordinary achievements over the next several years," Murray said.
 Fleet Financial Group is a $47-billion diversified financial services company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: FLT) with approximately 1,200 offices nationwide. Its lines of business include commercial and consumer banking, mortgage banking, consumer finance, asset-based lending, investment management, and student loan processing.
 ----
 NOTE: Biographical sketches of Murray and the four corporate executives appointed to new positions accompany this announcement. However, if you receive the news release electronically, biographical material is not included. You may obtain it by mail or fax by calling 401-278-6242. Photographs also are available upon request.
 -0- 3/17/93
 /CONTACT: Robert W. Lougee, Jr., vice president and director, corporate communications, 401-278-5879; Bruce P. Crooks, 401-278-6241; Thomas L. Lavelle for media information, 401-278-3003; Judith B. Ragge for investor information, 401-278-6444, all of Fleet Financial Group/
 (FLT)


CO: Fleet Financial Group ST: Rhode Island IN: FIN SU: PER

DJ -- NE006 -- 7079 03/17/93 13:25 EST
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