While it’s never been a particularly smooth ride at the helm for our good buddy Brian Moynihan, the CEO of BofA is under some real scrutiny these days following the abrupt departure of the bank’s CFO, Bruce Thompson.
According to a story in today’s NY Times, Thompson’s sudden absence shines a bright light on Moynihan’s unpopular machinations from the corner suite. From what the Times is hearing, rank and file at BofA are more than a little miffed that as the bank has taken hit after hit, Moynihan has had bad dealings with many senior executives, save a select few.
Moreover, they say, Mr. Moynihan, 55, has surrounded himself with a close-knit circle of loyal lieutenants — many from his days at the regional bank FleetBoston Financial, which was acquired by Bank of America in 2003.
At least five of the 13 members of Mr. Moynihan's executive management team, including a co-head of consumer banking, its leader of global wealth and investment management, its corporate auditor and its head of global strategy, have ties to FleetBoston.
Moynihan was at Fleet for 11 years before the bank merged with BofA, and it seems that during his time at Fleet he forged the kinds of relationships that turn “strangahs” into “brothahs.”
Basically, if you pronounce your “Rs” or wear a Yankees cap, you can kiss your ass goodbye at Brian Moynihan’s BofA.
He doesn’t care if your MBAs are from Wharton, or even if you told Ken Lewis to his face that Countrywide was a piece of sh!t. If you weren’t part of his wicked tight crew from back at Fleet, you should look for work elsewhea.
How you like them apples?
Oh, you think we’re making these too much of this, chucklehead?
Then what about this little factoid?
The departing C.F.O., Mr. Thompson, 50, was widely seen as the person in line to fill Mr. Moynihan's shoes, but his star dimmed, people briefed on the matter said, after the bank miscalculated its capital levels by $4 billion last year.
Mr. Moynihan was angry at Mr. Thompson and his team for the mistake, people briefed on the matter said. He appointed a trusted former FleetBoston colleague to take over the bank's preparation for its stress test submissions, a job that had been done by the C.F.O.
It even appears that the role of Moynihan’s presumptive heir apparent is now being played by BofA’sc co-head of consumer banking Dean Athanasia, a former managing director at Fleet.
So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
It also turns out that Moynihan has never really actually left Boston. He was reached by the Times at his office in Boston… where he apparently still lives despite the fact BofA has headquarters in both NYC and Charlotte.
Mr. Moynihan typically starts the week in Boston (he did not want to uproot his children, who when he got the job were attending public school in a Boston suburb) and then flies either to the bank's headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., or New York.
Several former Merrill Lynch executives said Mr. Moynihan was hardly ever seen visiting the trading floors of the bank's soaring glass tower in Midtown Manhattan.
Of course he doesn’t go to Midtown Manhattan. It’s practically Derek F#cking Jeter’s backyard over there.
Also, being in Boston gives Moynihan a chance to consolidate his power base and make good on his promise to his best friend, former Fleet CEO Chad Gifford.
While the Times didn’t uncover it, we have a transcript from one the final meetings between Gifford and Moynihan before the merger with BofA.
Gifford: Look, you’re my favorite, so don’t take this the wrong way. In 2 years, if you’re still here, comin’ over to my office to watch the Patriots games, still workin’ brokerage and wealth management, I’ll f*ckin’ kill you. That’s not a threat, that’s a fact. I’ll f*ckin’ kill you.
Moynihan: What the f*ck are you talkin’ about?
Gifford: Look, you got somethin’ that none of us —
Moynihan: Oh, come on! Why is it always this, I mean, “I f*ckin’ owe it to myself to do this or that?” What if I don’t want to?
Gifford: No. No, no, no. No, f*ck you. You don’t owe it to yourself. You owe it to me. ‘Cause tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and I’ll be the highest-paid board member at a too big to fail bank. And that’s all right, that’s fine. I mean, you’re sittin’ on a winning lottery ticket and you’re too much of a pussy to cash it in. And that’s bullsh!t. `Cause I’d do anything to f*ckin’ have what you got. So would any of these f*ckin’ guys. It’d be an insult to us if you’re still here in 2 years. Hanging around here is a f*ckin’ waste of your time.
Moynihan: You don’t know that.
Gifford: I don’t?
Moynihan: No. You don’t know that.
Gifford: Oh, I don’t know that? Let me tell you what I do know. Every day I come by your office and I pick you up. And we go out we have a few drinks and a few laughs, and it’s great. You know what the best part of my day is? It’s for about 10 seconds from when I pass your secretaries to when I get to your door. Because I think maybe I’ll get up there and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there. No goodbye, no see you later, no nothin’. Just left. I don’t know much, but I know that.
Moynihan: [long pause] I will rebuild Fleet from within Bank of America. I love you.
Sniffle. That sh!t is beautiful. Fleet forevah!
(We just wish we could share this touching exchange with Moynihan and his Fleet brothers, but as far as we know access to Dealbreaker remains blocked on company servers.)
Executive Departure Draws Attention to Bank of America's Growth Strategy [DealBook]
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