Wells Fargo & Co., the world’s most valuable bank, is seeking a new head of mergers and acquisitions to succeed John Laughlin, who will serve as vice chairman of the business, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The bank will consider internal and external candidates, said the person, asking not to be identified discussing personnel matters. Laughlin joined Wells Fargo about seven years ago as it acquired Wachovia Corp.

“John Laughlin’s appointment to vice chairman recognizes the key role he played in leading a five-fold increase in our M&A business,” Rob Engel, the San Francisco-based company’s head of investment banking and capital markets, said in a statement. “He’ll continue to provide critical leadership to our team and value to our clients.”

Wells Fargo is attempting to expand dealmaking and trading operations that still provide a small share of total earnings relative to U.S. rivals such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. Months before his promotion to chief operating officer in November, Tim Sloan listed investment banking among three businesses the firm is focusing on for growth. In the fourth quarter, fees from those operations tumbled 26 percent to $385 million from a year earlier as the bank struggled to gain market share, according to a January presentation.

Reuters reported the search for a new leader earlier Sunday.

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