(Editor’s note: This column only represents the author’s views, which are blogging by nature. Tinges of sarcasm are subject to safe harbor statement protection and do not intend to offend or misinform.)
In a largely unexpected move underscoring significant change, Bank of America (BofA) today appointed former Citi CFO and practice head Sallie Krawcheck as the bank’s new leader in charge of global wealth and investment management.
Observers and compensation experts alike were seen quietly listening along the New York to Charlotte corridor for the original red rover request, which could be heard sometime this morning between BofA CEO Ken Lewis and Citi CEO Vikram Pandit.
This move certifies the power of failing up in an industry that’s been flailing since well before last year’s market collapse.
Krawcheck will join a senior team that now includes at least three bona fide candidates to replace CEO Ken Lewis when he’s ready to go — or when the board decides it’s time for him to go.
There is no reported timetable for either option, although Lewis has hinted in previous interviews that it’s not exactly a great job at the moment. Neither Lewis nor BofA board Chairman Walter Massey were available for comment, according to their personal bartenders.
Chairman Massey continues to move swiftly and deftly with mixing up the board’s composition at the behest of the Obama administration. How he’s able to do so without the official help of any of the major executive search firms defies human reason.
The only real question left behind this high-level talent mix-up is what role did the government play in approving the selection of Krawcheck? What exactly was required to get this plum assignment — performance in previous positions? Extensive industry experience? Long lost uncle related to Obama or Geithner?
Most importantly…What will Krawcheck earn in her new position compared with what she received at Citi? Bonus watchers at both leading financial institutions will be waiting patiently for the answer.
The appointment of Krawcheck to head what’s left of Merrill Lynch also unofficially signifies an internal horse race for top job at BofA. While it remains unclear who will ultimately get the CEO position, one thing is abundantly clear: The race will not produce anything dramatically different than what’s been seen thus far.
Meanwhile, in other news, AIG has appointed a former MetLife CEO to replace the insurer’s outgoing CEO, Edward Liddy, who used to run AllState. And Apple has decided that it’s time for Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, to step off the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s board. Liddy is rumored to be Schmidt’s replacement, but the TGR could not confirm this to be true as of press time. Something about iPods not working in the board room.
Ah yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Captain Weill, more yacht steam — it’s time to return to port.