Gary Baker, Bank of America Corp.’s head of European equities strategy, is being replaced by John Bilton amid a reorganization of the firm’s research department, said three people with direct knowledge of the move.
Baker, who is based in London, told colleagues late last week in an e-mail that he was resigning, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the departure hasn’t been made public. Michael Hartnett, 45, formerly head of equity strategy at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender, was promoted to chief investment strategist, the people said.
Bank of America is shaking up its research department as the firm adjusts to stagnant revenues from trading and wealth management. Hartnett, who still has responsibility for equities, will have a higher profile consolidating the firm’s research views to institutional and retail clients, the people said.
Hartnett’s promotion stemmed from the need to “provide a regular, coordinated view” that can easily be disseminated by the bank’s securities and wealth-management businesses, according to a Sept. 6 memo from research chief Candace Browning and Anthony Bor, sector manager for equity strategy.
Bilton was named head of European investment strategy and Arjun “AJ” Mehra will be head of U.S. investment strategy, according to the memo. Hartnett will continue to report to Browning, 57.
“They’re under tremendous pressure to make their clients money,” said Jeanne Branthover, managing director at Boyden Global Executive Search Ltd. in New York. “Everyone is examining their research departments and saying, ‘What do we need to do to retain our customers or get new ones?’”
Baker joined Merrill Lynch & Co. in 1992, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The securities firm was acquired by Bank of America in 2009. Hartnett, who is based in New York, joined Merrill Lynch in 1995 as chief economist in Japan and also served as director of European equity strategy.
Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan, 52, is targeting $3 billion in annual costs from investment banking, trading and wealth-management units. The lender, the second-biggest in the U.S. by assets, is informing employees of job cuts this month, one of the people said.
Baker and Hartnett didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.