Troubles Of A Model Merger

Joseph G. Sponholz, Chemical Bank's affable chief financial officer, isn't kidding when he calls himself "the man in the middle." As implementation manager for the planned merger of Chemical Banking Corp. and Manufacturers Hanover Corp., Sponholz, 47, is trying to turn what started with a secret handshake last spring between two rival chairmen into what they have described as a $135 billion marriage of equals that will produce a mammoth institution second in size only to Citicorp. "We're trying to take the best of both worlds," says Sponholz, fresh from his umpteenth meeting with Chemical Chairman Walter V. Shipley and Manny Hanny Chairman John F. McGillicuddy.

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