Bank of America Merrill Lynch wealth management executive John Thiel unveiled a new plan that restructures the firm’s U.S. wealth management business in a memo to employees on Wednesday.
In the memo obtained by sister publication On Wall Street, Thiel, who was promoted to head of U.S. wealth management and private banking and investments group in April, outlines a new structure including 11 new regional markets.
The new structure aims to better address clients’ needs and reduce management layers. The move echoes efforts to streamline Bank of America’s management ranks earlier this month that sent Thiel’s former boss and top wealth management executive Sallie Krawcheck from the firm.
Thiel’s decision to shuffle the regional markets, which will include both U.S. wealth management and private banking and investments, comes after months of “extensive conversations with clients, advisors and leaders,” Thiel said in his memo. The group previously had four national divisions.
“It enables us to take a closer look at the real needs of clients across the wealth spectrum and give them whatever they need to reach their goals – taking full advantage of what it means to be a part of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America,” Thiel said in the memo.
With the new structure, each of the 11 markets will be led by one executive that will oversee the firm’s work with affluent, ultra high net worth and institutional clients in that region. That executive will report to Thiel, who will continue to oversee the financial performance of both the U.S. wealth management and private banking and investment units.
The 11 new market leaders include: Brett Bernard, for the mid East region; Chris Dupuy, Pacific Northwest; Linda Houston, New England; Paul Lambert, mid America; Bill Lorenz, mid Atlantic; Jeff Markham, Greater Texas; Sabina McCarthy, New York City metro; Don Plaus, south Atlantic; Jeff Ransdell, Southeast; Jodi Rolland, heartland; and Chandler Root, southwest.
At the same time, Riley Etheridge will assume the newly created role of head of client solutions and segments, also reporting to Thiel. In that role, Etheridge will lead the operating strategy development and client segment plans. Etheridge currently serves as private banking and investments group region executive for the metropolitan and mid-atlantic regions.
In his new role, Etheridge now has four executives reporting to him. They include: Bill Cholawa, head of capacity and initiative management; Tedd Durkin, head of affluent client solutions; Scott Hotham, head of institutional client solutions; and Phil Sieg, head of ultra-high-net-worth client solutions.
Thiel also announced in his memo that Western Division Director Greg Franks has decided to retire from the firm.