Hassell Caps 38-Year Climb by Replacing Kelly as BNY Mellon CEO

Bank of New York Mellon Corp.’s Gerald Hassell, who started as a management trainee 38 years ago and became president in 1998, got the top job with the departure of Chief Executive Officer Robert P. Kelly.

Hassell, 59, joined Bank of New York Co.’s management development program in 1973 and rose through the ranks. He kept the president’s title when Kelly, 57, was named CEO after Bank of New York bought Mellon Financial Corp. in 2007 and changed its name to Bank of New York Mellon.

“He knows and understands the company probably more than anyone on the planet,” Dick Bove, an analyst at Rochdale Securities LLC in Lutz, Florida, said yesterday in an interview.

Kelly, who had run Mellon before the takeover, stepped down as chairman and CEO yesterday because of differences with directors in his approach to running the company, BNY Mellon said in a statement, without elaborating on the reasons behind the split. Jeep Bryant, a company spokesman, declined to comment beyond the statement.

BNY Mellon shares trade at about the same level they did in early 1997 after a 32 percent decline this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company, the world’s biggest custody bank, said Aug. 10 it planned to cut 1,500 jobs, or 3 percent of the workforce, after expenses surged in the second quarter.

Hassell, who early in his career held positions in the credit and corporate banking divisions, was named to Bank of New York’s executive committee in 1994. He was elected to its board of directors in 1998.

No Change Expected

“This doesn’t reflect any change in strategy or business model,” Marty Mosby, a Nashville, Tennessee-based analyst with Guggenheim Securities LLC, said in an interview. “Hassell has been a big part of running the company.”

Hassell has had direct management responsibility for the company’s range of investment services businesses, including asset servicing and issuer, broker-dealer, treasury and clearing services, BNY Mellon said in the statement. He also oversees client management across the company’s global businesses, as well as operations and technology.

“Gerald has led nearly every major division of the company, has been a key decision maker on every major business action, executive hire and promotion in the merged company, and has served on its board of directors,” Wesley W. von Schack, lead director of BNY Mellon, said in the statement.

$11.2 Million

Hassell earned $11.2 million in 2010, a 75 percent increase over 2009. He was the third-highest paid executive at BNY Mellon last year after Kelly and Curtis Arledge, who heads the asset-management unit, according to regulatory filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Kelly made $19.4 million in 2010, including salary, stock awards and incentive compensation, a 38 percent increase from the previous year. Arledge earned $11.8 million.

As of Feb. 24, Hassell owned 980,385 shares in BNY Mellon, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hassell holds a master’s degree in business administration in finance from the New York University Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University. Hassell joined the board of trustees at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina, on July 1.

He is also a director of Comcast Corp., the Philadelphia-based cable TV company, and serves on the board of visitors at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center, and the boards of the New York Philharmonic, the Economic Club of New York and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, according to the company’s statement.

BNY Mellon reported a 12 percent increase in second-quarter earnings as acquisitions and market gains lifted assets and the fees from overseeing them. The bank had assets under custody of $26.3 trillion and assets under management of $1.3 trillion at the end of June.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE