Chris Coile has resigned, effective yesterday, as chairman of the board of the firm that bears his name--Merrill Lynch Realty/Chris Coile.

William Barrett, president of the firm, a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch Realty, said the resignation is merely a matter of timing and that Coile had planned to leave next July. Coile could not be reached for comment.

The firm recently closed 10 of its real estate offices in the Washington area in what it called a consolidation and sold its residential property management activities in the area to Snider Bros. Property Management Inc. Barrett said that neither those moves nor Coile's resignation is a sign that Merrill Lynch is lessening its commitment to realty in the Washington-Baltimore region.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Barrett said when asked if his firm is planning a retrenchment in the region. "We are more committed than ever" to real estate both throughout the country and in the D.C. area, he added.

Coile, 36, started his real estate career when he was 21. He surpassed one million sales by the end of his second year. In 1970 he started his own business in Baltimore, Chris Coile and Associates, and by 1980 the firm had grown to 19 offices with 350 agents.