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Denis O'Leary, the hard-charging technology executive who helped integrate the IT systems of Chemical Bank and Chase Manhattan when the two financial institutions merged in 1996 and then later helped with the merger of Chase and J.P. Morgan, is leaving the financial powerhouse at the end of January. "I've been here for 25 years," O'Leary says. "I want to realize personal goals outside the firm."
O'Leary, 46, started his career as a corporate lending officer with Manufacturers Hanover in 1978. He led the technology integration of Manufacturers and Chemical when they merged in 1991 and was made CIO of Chemical in 1993. O'Leary headed up Chase's online effort, Chase.com, then was executive manager of LabMorgan, the bank's Internet incubator. His most recent role was executive VP in charge of consumer payments and an adviser to vice chairman Don Layton.
O'Leary says he doesn't have another position lined up--"I'm going to see what's out there"--and the departure is on good terms. "It was done in way that everyone is smiling at one another." An internal memo from Layton announcing O'Leary's departure says O'Leary approached him and chairman Bill Harrison several months ago with his desire to leave. O'Leary says he's looking for a new challenge. "There were strong people in place in jobs that had interest to me," O'Leary says. "I didn't want to wait for the world to change. I'd rather be in control of my destiny."