London base for new BoA global head

David Hellier
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BANK of America Merrill Lynch yesterday named Paul Donofrio, one of its three co-heads of investment banking, as its new head of global corporate banking business.

Donofrio will replace Cathy Bessant, who has been named global technology and operations executive. He will continue to report to Tom Montag, global banking and markets president.

London-based Donofrio has been with Bank of America, the parent of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, since 1999

He has had a difficult year, during which the bank’s position in the investment banking world has deteriorated in the upheaval that followed the takeover of Merrill Lynch by the US bank last year.

In terms of completed mergers, Merrill has fallen from first to number seven as a number of its most talented bankers left the firm.

Insiders play down the fall down the league tables. “You know when you consider the changes that have take place here and all the uncertainty there has been, a number seven position isn’t that bad,” says one.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Donofrio “played a critical role” during the merger of the two banks and led the integration of the corporate and investment banking businesses.

Sources close to the bank describe Donofrio as more of a bureaucrat than an investment banker and see his move as a “natural one”.

The bank has lost a number of dealmakers, including Jonathan Grundy, who moved to Credit Suisse. Mark Echlin, who ran Merrill’s industrial groups, also quit for Credit Suisse in London and Mark Aedy, formerly head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at the bank’s investment banking unit, left to take up the same position at Moeilis, a boutique bank.

Critics say there should have been a more concerted hiring drive to replace these and others.

Globally, the bank is in a stronger position, ranking fifth in global mergers and acquisitions with a 21.3 per cent marketshare.