NEW YORK (AP) _ The Associated Press has named veteran editors Randolph Picht and Darrell Christian to new positions in its business news and markets information services.

Picht will become director of AP Market Information, directing a unit that consolidates the news service's distribution of financial statistics. Christian will succeed Picht as business editor, directing AP's reporting of worldwide business, finance and technology news.

The appointments were announced Friday by William Ahearn, AP vice president and executive editor, and John Reid, vice president and director of communications.

The organization of two senior editor posts to oversee separate elements of AP's financial coverage reflects the growth of both fields: business and technology news coverage, and AP's expanding offerings of financial market information for newspapers, broadcast and the Internet.

Christian, a native of Henderson, Ky., is a former managing editor and sports editor at AP. He began his newspaper career as a sports writer and sports editor on the Henderson Gleaner in 1964.

He worked for the AP in Charleston, W.Va., before serving in the Navy in 1969-1972, then worked for AP in Indianapolis in 1972. He became Indianapolis news editor in 1975 and moved to the Washington bureau in 1980.

Christian, 51, was named deputy sports editor in 1981, sports editor in 1985 and managing editor in 1992. Last year, he was named to head AP MegaSports, a sports statistics service for Web sites.

Picht has been AP business news editor since 1997, overseeing both business news coverage and markets information services.

He is a native of Deer Park, N.Y., and a University of Missouri graduate. He began his journalism career at the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Miss.

Picht, 40, joined the AP as a newsman in Albany in 1983 and was named correspondent in Rochester, N.Y., two years later. In 1989, he was appointed correspondent in charge of the St. Louis bureau.

In 1992, he was named assistant business editor, consulting with AP member newspapers on the content and technology of the AP's SelectStocks service.