Bank of America Merrill Lynch has its senior global management team in place but there’s no sign of any slowdown in the number of changes in its international investment bank.
Most appointments within BAML over the past few months have involved reassigning roles for existing executives. That changed in April when the firm hired Christian Meissner, formerly deputy global head of investment banking at Nomura, to run investment banking for EMEA. Meissner’s hire has in turn led to a further shift of titles and responsibilities for senior executives including Andrea Orcel, Jim Quigley and Jonathan Moulds.
Meissner, reportedly hired in by Tom Montag, president of global banking and markets, will take up his new role in June and will report to Michael Rubinoff and Purna Saggurti, co-heads of global investment banking in New York. Like Montag, Meissner is a Goldman Sachs alumnus.
One source says that Meissner’s hire was something of a surprise to Orcel, the former Merrill Lynch’s top dealmaker in Europe. Orcel took on the title of executive chairman of global banking and markets only last December, taking charge of coverage and strategy for clients globally.
Orcel has now been given a second title of president of emerging markets ex-Asia; Asia continues to be run by Brian Brille, BofA’s former head of investment banking. In this newly expanded role, all ex-Asia emerging markets country managers will report to Orcel, who is now supposed to be bringing in business to the wealth management division run by Sallie Krawcheck in addition to expanding the banking and markets business in his new key regions.
Many names: Andrea Orcel has a second title of president of emerging markets ex-Asia to add to his first, executive chairman of global banking and markets
Meissner’s departure from Nomura coincides with the arrival of Jesse Bhattal as global head of the wholesale business there but according to insiders his departure from Nomura was amicable. According to one Nomura banker: "It’s a big loss but Meissner had reached the end of what he had wanted to achieve at Nomura. He wanted a broader management function and to be involved again."
According to another Nomura employee, Meissner had been successful at integrating investment banking at Lehman Brothers with Nomura and putting in a coverage model that brought together and oversaw the various roles and remits that had sprung up from the acquisition. "He’s very good at motivating the troops," says one employee, although Nomura has few big investment banking wins to go with his efforts.
Orcel’s new responsibilities mean changed functions for two of the firm’s most senior figures. Moulds, formerly president of EMEA and Canada, no longer has responsibility for Latin America and the Middle East. A BAML insider says the revenue pool for Moulds won’t be much affected – which is to admit how much the Middle East and Latin American businesses need building. The firm seems to be treading lightly around the changes to his responsibilities. An internal memo announcing the changes said: "Jonathan has shown tremendous leadership in bringing together our capabilities across multiple regions and businesses and will continue to help drive the growth of our platform. There are few people with Jonathan’s insight and relationships who can provide the same level of strategic guidance to our business."
"Keeping up with all these titles and changes is more complicated than keeping up with the TV series Lost"
BAML has stated it has plans to expand its corporate banking footprint globally to compete with Citigroup – a move being headed by Paul Donofrio. Quigley will now report to Orcel.
"Keeping up with all these titles and changes is more complicated than keeping up with the TV series Lost," says a banker at a competitor in London.
Old and new
One BAML banker in London says the huge number of hires and changes, aggravated further by the combination of the two cultures in the acquisition, is leading to the development of fiefdoms. "There’s the old Bank of America crowd, the Merrill Lynch crowd, and now a Goldman Sachs crowd," he says. However, Montag insists (see Too big to succeed? The scale of Brian Moynihan’s ambitions at Bank of America, Euromoney, May 2010) that the new culture is one of all working together for the firm, not for a unit’s P&L or an individual’s P&L. Although Montag seems committed to that cause, it’s easier said than done.
All eyes will be on the next series of the BAML international show when Meissner starts in the summer. According to one insider, he has been "given a list as long as his arm of hires he needs to make when he joins".