WALL STREET: Bank of America's CEO is tightening his grip on the bank

Brian moynihanREUTERS / Bobby YipBrian Moynihan looks set to hold onto the CEO role in Bank of America’s game of thrones.

Bank of America CFO Bruce Thompson is leaving the organisation in what Wall Street insiders say is the latest step in an ongoing consolidation of power at the top of the company.

The man tightening his grip on the bank is chief executive and chairman Brian Moynihan.

He has led the bank as CEO for about five years, and added the chairman title late last year. Thompson’s departure is widely seen by those on Wall Street as evidence of Moynihan extending his influence even further.

A number of the top posts at Bank of America are now held by executives who like Moynihan moved to the bank as part of Bank of America’s 2003 $US47 billion FleetBoston acquisition.

Business Insider reached out to bank analysts and other industry insiders who say the age of Moynihan is unlikely to end anytime soon. Bank of America did not returns calls seeking comment.

  • One Wall Street insider said the firm has “an extremely weak board of directors” that has not been aggressive with leadership.
  • Mike Mayo, bank analyst with CLSA, went a step further, describing the bank’s corporate governance as “horrendous”.
  • He added that the bank is too big to buckle to shareholder pressure, and that it would take a combination of hedge funds and regulators to force the bank to break up into smaller pieces.
  • He said “the Boston power is tightening its grasp,” referring to the group of former FleetBoston executives now in senior posts at Bank of America.
  • He also views Thompson’s ouster as a mystery. “Between the Loch Ness Monster, Stonehenge and the real reason why the CFO of Bank of America got fired, I think it’s among the world’s great mysteries.”
  • One Wall Street insider said: “Clearly Moynihan is increasing his influence over the organisation, which is a good thing, because it’s a f****d up organisation.”
  • Chris Whalen, senior managing director and head of research with the Kroll Bond Rating Agency, said it’s possible Bank of America could consider asset sales including Merrill Lynch under Moynihan. “What the Fed has told banks is to get smaller,” Whalen said. “And, to avoid risk.”
  • Another analyst points out that between the departure of Thompson and wealth management head David Darnell, Bank of America has reduced the list of potential candidates to replace Moynihan yet again.

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