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June 04, 1986|JOHN M. BRODER

Bank of America Vice Chairman James B. Wiesler said he will retire next year after 38 years with the bank. His departure is part of a trend that has seen numerous senior Bank of America officials leaving as a new generation of leaders, many of them hired from outside, takes control of the struggling San Francisco institution.

Wiesler, 59, rose from trainee at the Hollywood branch to head of the bank's global consumer markets division, which has $45 billion in assets and includes all of Bank of America's consumer deposits and loans and services to small and mid-size businesses.

Over the next year, Wiesler will yield his duties to Thomas A. Cooper, 49, who was named the bank's chief operating officer in March. Wiesler also will serve as chairman of the Bank Administration Institute, a banking trade group, and as Bank of America's representative on the board of directors of Visa.

Although Wiesler's unit has been profitable, the parent firm, BankAmerica, suffered $337 million in losses last year because of bad loans and high administrative expenses. Wiesler said in an interview that he is confident that the bank's problems are being tackled.

"I do believe the worst is behind us. I don't believe we've turned the corner, but we're turning the corner. The climb back will be gradual and sound," he said.

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