FRESH HEIR

Bank of America’s highest paid executive looks one step closer to running the firm

August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014

He’s the Wall Street honcho eyeing Brian Moynihan’s CEO suite. Thomas Montag, a 57-year-old former Goldman Sachs partner, is set to be named the sole chief operating officer at Bank of America, Bloomberg reported today. Montag had shared the COO title since 2011 with David Darnell, who is relocating to Florida and will become a vice chairman, overseeing the bank’s global wealth management business, Bloomberg reports.

Darnell’s move reinforces the view that Montag, who has overseen some of the bank’s most profitable businesses since joining the firm in 2009, is establishing himself as the heir apparent to current bank boss Moynihan, should the chief executive decide to step down anytime soon. (Montag, who previously ran the firm’s global markets and investment banking operation, also was considered a possible successor to former CEO Ken Lewis, but it was Moynihan who was put in the role in 2009.)

Montag has been credited with helping BofA weather a storm of penalties and fines (the bank is still haggling over a whopping $17 billion settlement) and a shaky trading environment. Montag has helped keeping the  firm’s lucrative trading business churning at a time when rivals are struggling with steep trading revenue declines.

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Montag spent more than two decades at Goldman Sachs before taking a senior post at Merrill Lynch, which ultimately was acquired by BofA in 2008 during the height of the financial crisis. Besides his trading savvy, the Wall Street vet also is known for referring to an arcane mortgage security as “one shi**y deal” in an email spotlighted during a Senate hearing in 2010.

Montag is one of Wall Street’s top earners. Over the past several years, he has managed to out-earn his boss.

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That’s something he can take solace in even if he doesn’t manage to land the top job at BofA.

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