Merrill's Bronx Bomber

David Komansky, 57, is a salesman's salesman. A University of Miami dropout, he has the common touch and street smarts that come from growing up in the Bronx. The mix has played well at Merrill Lynch, and at yearend Komansky will take over as the CEO.

Komansky has spent all of his 28-year career at Merrill, beginning as a broker in the firm's Forest Hills (N.Y.) office and making national sales director in 1988. But Komansky also has experience in trading and investment banking. In 1990, he became head of Merrill's global equity trading operation and in 1993, the head of global debt and equity. During that time, Merrill has boomed, and Komansky earned $12.2 million last year.

Komansky is sure to push Merrill even further internationally. "We'll look at any acquisition possibilities that make sense for us," he says. And he'll push harder in Washington: "We have to be a little more participative." His take on the stock market? "We wouldn't be too suprised to see a correction in the next six months."

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