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Morning Coffee: Top banker’s cunning method of keeping his job. The deal everyone wants to work on

Brian Moynihan

It was Brian Moynihan, in the board room

Have you been under-performing in your finance role? Are you concerned that someone might come along and take it from you? – Maybe one of juniors? Take a lesson from a pro in how to see them off.

Firstly, consolidate power. Maybe you’re just CEO – become chairman too. Secondly, dispense with anyone publicly referred to as a possible successor. Thirdly, offer mini promotions and lavish praise to all who remain. And fourthly, make sure they’re all older than you and therefore won’t be ‘maturing into’ your role.

Such has been the multi-pronged strategy of Brian Moynihan at Bank of America. Having been promoted to CEO in 2010 for his ‘strong work ethic’ and solid potential, the Wall Street Journal says 55 year-old Moynihan hasn’t exactly delivered. – BofA has consistently delivered a return on equity of less than its 10% theoretical cost of capital and its shares have appreciated by just 20% while the S&P has appreciated by more than four times that amount.

Bloomberg says that Moynihan has reacted by appointing himself CEO and chairman and dumping 50 year-old Bruce Thompson as CFO, a putative successor, following an alleged dispute how to boost revenues. With Thompson gone, Moynihan has then promoted a round of second lieutenants and praised those who weren’t promoted (Tom Montag). He’s also appointed someone his own age to replace Thompson. One analyst points out that all Moynihan’s deputies are now older than he is: none of them are likely to succeed him.

Separately, which current banking deal would you be working on if you were an Italian banking CEO with the pick of the crop? Try Ferrari’s IPO. Financial News reports that UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti is personally involved in the IPO of Ferrari, and is working alongside Riccardo Mulone, UBS’s head of investment banking for Italy to take the company public. So far, so glamorous. The Wall Street Journal points out that the Ferrari IPO isn’t that exciting though – the company is actually called ‘New business Netherlands’ for starters.

Meanwhile:

Credit Suisse just hired a new head of equity derivatives in America. (Bloomberg) 

Thiam said the bank will always be present in fixed income in some way. (Reuters) 

Lazard and Evercore are doing less well than Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan in M&A. (BreakingViews)

SocGen is hiring a Bitcoin expert. (CoinDesk)

Why Barclays’ next CEO should be an investment banker. (Bloomberg)

What Symphony, Wall Street’s new messaging service, will look like. (Symphony) 

Life lessons from differential equations.(John Cook)

Ex-Goldman Sachs partner not so nasty to his neighbours after all. (Evening Standard) 

On the art of persuading people to study economics. (VoxEU) 

(Photo credit: Tim Ellis) 

 

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