In a position that has become a veritable revolving door at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Paul Donofrio has taken over the institution's global corporate banking function from Catherine Bessant, who was in the role for less than six months.
In his expanded role, London-based Donofrio retains the title global corporate and investment banking executive but has had his duties expanded to include all the institution's corporate banking activities around the world, including Bank of America's legacy transaction banking business. He remains head of investment banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Donofrio's appointment is part of the bank's ongoing strategy to unify the corporate and investment banking sides of the institution.
"The international expansion of our corporate banking business is one of Bank of America Merrill Lynch's highest priorities and greatest growth opportunities," said Thomas Montag, global banking and markets president at BoA Merrill, in a statement. "I'm confident that, with Paul at the helm, we will continue to build on our progress and realise the full potential of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch platform."
Donofrio reports to Montag and will work closely with global corporate and investment banking executives Michael Rubinoff and Purna Saggurti.
It is unclear whether anyone in the bank's Asian operations will report directly to Donofrio. However, it is understood that Joel Van Dusen, London-based deputy head of global corporate banking, will report directly to him, creating an indirect link between BoA Merrill's new Asia head of global treasury services Ivo Distelbrink and Donofrio. Hong Kong-based Distelbrink reports directly to Van Dusen.
Bessant, who was appointed president of global corporate banking at the end of last summer, was transferred to global technology and operations executive in January under the new management line-up of chief executive Brian Moynihan. BoA Merrill did not elaborate on its decision but Moynihan said in a statement that the new team would allow it to "execute" the best business model in the industry.
A source familiar with the bank said Bessant's move played to her strengths. The source explained that technology and operations is one of BoA Merrill's largest and most important divisions with "tens of thousands of staff" globally.
Both Donofrio and Bessant are veterans of the Charlotte-based bank. Most recently, Donofrio worked as global corporate and investment banking executive responsible for investment banking. He originally joined BoA Merrill in 1999 as head of the bank's global healthcare, consumer, retail, technology, media and telecoms investment banking division.
Prior to taking over global corporate banking, Bessant was president of the institution's global product solutions group. She has held various positions within BoA Merrill including chief marketing officer and president of then Bank of America's Florida operation. Bessant joined the firm in 1982.
BoA Merrill has made a number of recent appointments in Asia. In addition to Distelbrink, it also poached Chris Gammons from Citi to lead its Asian financial sponsors group in January. A month earlier, the bank nabbed Ranobir Mukherji from UBS to run its Asia debt capital markets business.