Moynihan’s Succession Drama and Powell at Jackson Hole

Bank Of America CEO Brian Moynihan in 2020
Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
August 29, 2021

Since I began writing my column for Puck, I’ve been inundated with feedback about Wall Street’s biggest characters and concerns. I’ll be engaging with some of those questions here—in addition to a few observations of my own.

“Let the Games Begin”: The Succession Derby Inside BofA

The New York Times recently reported that Anne Finucane and Thomas Montag, who helped repair Bank of America’s profits and reputation in the wake of the financial crisis, are retiring at the end of the year. Of course, BofA still lags its Wall Street peers, and has yet to reclaim its peak valuation from 2006. What’s your read on where C.E.O. Brian Moynihan takes the bank from here?

It’s the end of an era at Bank of America, the nation’s second largest bank by assets, although I doubt either departure will have any impact on the succession question. Both Finucane and Montag were at or nearing retirement age. Finucane, a friend who is married to Mike Barnicle, is 69 years old; Montag is 64. But neither executive was going to replace Moynihan, who is 61 and looks increasingly entrenched at BofA. So in that sense, the departures of Finucane and Montag are not big news, although that is a serious amount of talent and experience to walk out the door come December. (Montag, of course, was not the most beloved executive, if a recent Times profile is to be believed. For my part, I always got along fine with the man when we were together at Merrill Lynch.)