British-born chief executive of J P Morgan to retire at 64

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SIR DENNIS Weatherstone will retire as head of J P Morgan at the end of the year, maintaining the bank's tradition of replacing its chief executive at the age of 64. His successor is Douglas 'Sandy' Warner III, the bank's president and long-time heir apparent.

The announcement comes only two days after the unexpected resignation of Stephen Friedman, 56, as senior partner of Goldman Sachs, another of Wall Street's top- tier institutions.

Both Morgan and Goldman have been among the most visible victims of the slowdown in fixed- income business, with profits off sharply during the first half after record performance in 1993.

Sir Dennis has presided over the transformation of J P Morgan from a commercial bank to a universal financial institution, anticipating the industry's move away from traditional bank lending into securities dealing and global derivatives trading.

'There is no banking industry,' he said recently. 'The label means nothing. I think people now recognise that we had to change or perish.'

Analysts said they expected little management change under Mr Warner, 48, an American who ran Morgan's UK business from 1983 to 1986.

Sir Dennis, the son of a London Transport clerk from Islington, will remain a director of the bank. Now a US citizen, he will continue to live in the New York suburb of Darien, Connecticut, where he settled when he first arrived from Britain in 1971 to head Morgan's foreign-exchange trading desk. He became bank president in 1986.

Sir Dennis has worked with the bank for 48 years, starting as a bookkeeper with Guaranty Trust, which later merged with the Morgan Bank.

Separately, Goldman is reportedly raising dollars 250m in new equity capital, apparently to bolster its balance sheet as a number of longtime partners retire and cash in their holdings. The retirement of 25 senior Goldman executives in November represents a claim of about dollars 400m against the firm's dollars 5bn capital base.