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BofA Wealth Management Head Retires in Latest Shakeup

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Bank of America's head of wealth management is retiring in the latest shakeup of the company's executive ranks.

Vice Chairman David Darnell retires later this year, according to the bank, and is to be replaced by Terry Laughlin, a former chairman of Merrill Lynch Bank & Trust. There were no changes announced to the current leadership at Merrill Lynch, helmed by John Thiel and Andy Sieg. Keith Banks remains as president of U.S. Trust, BofA's brokerage unit for ultrahigh-net-worth clients.

Darnell, a 35-year veteran at BofA, oversees both global wealth and investment management, a job which will be handed over to Laughlin. Chairman and Chief Executive Brian Moynihan described Darnell as a "mentor and friend to me, our management team, and so many leaders of our company."


Moynihan has periodically shaken up his management team since taking over the company in 2010. The following year, for example, he ousted wealth management chief Sallie Krawcheck and consumer banking president  Joe Price. At that time he named Darnell and Tom Montag co-chief operating officers.

The latest moves were broad, multifaceted and affected nine executives, including Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson, who will be leaving the bank.

Thompson, who has served as the Charlotte, N.C., company’s CFO and chief risk officer for more than five years, "has decided to step down," the bank said in a three-page statement released on Wednesday. It did not say what he plans to do next. He will be succeeded by Paul Donofrio, who has held a number of senior positions at the bank.

Moynihan credited Thompson in an internal memo with putting the company on “a strong, stable financial foundation, with record levels of capital and liquidity.”

“No finance executive in the world in the past decade has contended with greater challenges and discharged his responsibilities with as much skill and grit as Bruce Thompson,” Moynihan wrote in the memo. More broadly, he said, “there have been some challenging bends in the road on which we have traveled.”

Laughlin, meanwhile, will shift away from overseeing a revised submission to the Fed after the bank stumbled in stress tests in March. That job will be handed off to former head of human resources Andrea Smith, who is now chief administrative officer.

The changes come a week after second-quarter earnings sent the stock up, as analysts cited evidence the company -- the U.S. bank most beset by the financial crisis -- has turned a corner, managing to boost revenue while shaving expenses and avoiding major costs from legal claims and probes.

In other moves announced Wednesday, Sheri Bronstein, currently human resources executive for the global banking and global markets business lines, will succeed Smith as the top HR executive.

Longtime executive Cathy Bessant's title was also updated to reflect her operational responsibilities. Bessant has been B of A's top technology official. Her job title was renamed chief operations and technology officer to better reflect her operational duties related to platform security and reliability, the company said.

Bank of America was little changed in extended trading in New York, after the changes were announced. The shares climbed 3.1% this year through the close of regular trading Wednesday, trailing the 8.3% advance for the 24-company KBW Bank Index.

Chris Cumming of American Banker and Hugh Son of Bloomberg contributed reporting.

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