Merrill Lynch promotes Woodthorpe to head of ECM

Merrill Lynch promotes Alex Woodthorpe to head of Pacific Rim ECM replacing Ian Carton, in a move termed as a "planned transition".
Merrill Lynch has strengthened its Asia-Pacific team by promoting Alex Woodthorpe, head of equity capital markets in Japan, to lead the ECM business for the Pacific Rim.

Woodthorpe, who has been with Merrill since 1995, and in Tokyo since 2004, will replace Ian Carton. He brings significant experience across geographies to his job as he has previously worked with Merrill Lynch in the US, Europe and Australia. Before he moved to Japan, Woodthorpe was head of ECM syndicate for based in Hong Kong.

A Merrill Lynch spokesperson termed the move a ôplanned transitionö. Carton, who has worked with Merrill Lynch for 15 years, moved into this role three years ago. Along with his business responsibility, Carton worked closely with Damian Chunilal to develop a comprehensive business strategy for the region and identify a team to fill various positions. A Merrill Lynch spokesperson commented that ôthe nature of CartonÆs new role will drive the geography in which he is basedö although speculation is rife that he will continue in Asia.

Merrill Lynch also recently moved Sumeet Puri, head of syndicate to the bank's India subsidiary, DSP Merrill Lynch. In a reorganisation announced at the same time, the bank moved Soofian Zuberi and Jason Cox into the role of co-heads of equity capital markets for Asia Pacific. Zuberi and Cox will report to Woodthorpe.

Merrill Lynch's strategy has encompassed both promotions and portfolio changes from within and lateral hires. The bank recently hired Margaret Ren and Rodney Tsang to cover China. Ren last worked with Citigroup and Tsang was most recently with Credit Suisse. In 2006, Merrill brought Ajay Sawhney on board from ING as head of regional leveraged finance. Along with Richard Gibb, he was named co-head of financial sponsors early this year, in addition to his leveraged finance portfolio, reinforcing the growing importance of financial sponsor coverage.
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