Sell Side

John Lawlor to Lead BoA's Muni Unit

Bank of America Corp. has chosen Merrill Lynch & Co's chairman of municipal markets John Lawlor to lead its municipal unit after it completes its acquisition of the bank, a spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

As head of public finance, Lawlor will oversee all municipal activities, including origination, sales, and trading. He will report to Bank of America's Gerhard Seebacher, who will be head of global credit products at the combined firm.

Lawlor's appointment was announced in an internal memo sent earlier this week. The memo did not include details on how Bank of America would structure the rest of the public finance department.

Merrill Lynch ranks second as a senior manager this year, underwriting issues with a par value of $40.7 billion, while Banc of America Securities LLC ranks seventh, underwriting issues with a par value $19.85 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Banc of America has served as the senior manager on 346 issues, seven more than Merrill.

Bank of America earlier this month said it planned to cut between 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over the next three years as a result of the merger and the weak economic conditions. The firm had not yet completed its analysis and did not expect to have a final tally on job cuts until early next year, it said.

Cuts will come across all business lines and staff units, although details about specific units had not been determined, Bank of America said last week. Merrill Lynch in October laid off at least 20 public finance bankers and sales and trading professionals, sources told The Bond Buyer at the time.

Since agreeing to buy Merrill in September, Bank of America has rolled out announcements about its senior executives for the combined firm, pulling from both companies. John Thain, chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, will stay on with the firm as president of global banking, securities, and wealth management, Bank of America chairman and CEO Ken Lewis announced in October.

Bank of America announced its agreement to purchase Merrill Lynch - known for its "thundering herd" of brokers - Sept. 15, the same day Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy. Originally worth about $50 billion, the deal's total value has fallen to about $20 billion as Bank of America's stock price has declined. Trading at $33.74 the Friday before the announcement, shares of Bank of America had fallen to $13.96 as of close yesterday.

Shareholders of both companies approved the deal earlier this month. Bank of America said it is targeting a closing date of Jan. 1 for the deal.


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