Mild solvolytic cleavage of bis(2-pyridyl)amide under neutral and room-temperature conditions is described. The inherently stable amide was readily activated by catalytic amounts of metal cations to react with alcohols. Based on X-ray crystallographic analysis, the primary driving force was considered to be amide distortion induced by the metal coordination of two pyridyl groups in a bidentate fashion without affecting the amide functionality. The compatibility of the acid/base-sensitive functionalities and the absence of racemization during solvolysis highlight the mildness of the present protocol.
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