IT’S not often that rival investment bankers say nice things about each other, but when news broke of Christian Meissner’s appointment as sole head of investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch yesterday it was greeted with almost universal approval.
“He’s a really good guy,” said a source at Goldman Sachs, where the Austrian-born Princeton educated Meissner worked until his move to Lehman in 2004.
Some of his newer colleagues, who have worked for him at Bank of America Lynch since 2010 when he came over to help rebuild the bank’s talent base, describe him as “pragmatic, approachable but in possession of a large amount of integrity”.
Meissner was recruited by Tom Montag, and will report to the current president of global banking and markets when he relocates to New York in the summer.
He commands considerable loyalty from those who work for him and, tellingly, has already brought over some of his former charges from Nomura, including Adrian Mee, Emmanuel Hibou and Antonin Baladi.
Last April, Meissner was asked to head up the investment banking operations with a couple of co-heads. Now he will be doing it all alone.
And the trust that the bank has in its latest promotion is proved by the fact that for the first time, its investment bank will be under the control of a man who does not have ties to either Bank of America’s Charlotte base or to the old Merrill Lynch.
Meissner has faced tough times, such as when he famously had to tell Lehman’s European employees that it was “all over” as the bank faced collapse.
Now he has got the biggest job of his life. And everyone seems to be urging him on.