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Krawcheck: Bank of America's 'real center of power' in Boston

In a rare candid look at Bank of America's inner workings, former wealth and investment management head Sallie Krawcheck writes that the "real center of power was in Boston" and said she was never able to crack the inner circle under CEO Brian Moynihan.

She also describes a confusing corporate culture brought about by the bank's series of acquisitions.

Since being pushed out of the bank two years ago, Krawcheck has become a prolific writer and prominent voice in the business world. Her missives on the banking industry and corporate culture have garnered her more than a quarter-million followers on LinkedIn.

And her latest post on the networking site gives an intriguing glimpse into her time at Charlotte's big bank.

Exhibit A: Krawcheck writes that the "real center of power was in Boston," while she was based in New York. That meant Krawcheck wasn't privy to the "meetings-before-the-meeting" or other bits of face time where the real decisions are made, she writes.

Krawcheck was a high-profile addition to Bank of America in 2009, when then-CEO Ken Lewis brought her on to shepherd the newly acquired Merrill Lynch and the bank's legacy wealth management division.

She joined Bank of America from Citigroup, where she had served as chief financial officer and wealth management head. She grew up in Charleston, S.C., and is a UNC Chapel Hill alum. When Lewis stepped down, she was one of six internal candidates named as potential CEOs.

Krawcheck was ultimately pushed out in September 2011 along with veteran retail banking head Joe Price, in a management shake-up that promoted David Darnell and Thomas Montag to co-chief operating officers.

And in the interim, Krawcheck described a leadership team full of change and contradiction.

When she was hired at Bank of America, Lewis told Krawcheck he'd be on board at least two more years, she writes. Instead, he announced his departure two months later. Moynihan, who lives in Boston, was named as his successor.

"This left me without the person who was most invested in my successful transition to the company, and with significantly changed marching orders," she writes. "While I asked (and asked and asked) for feedback on how I was doing, I lacked a real sponsor at the senior leadership table."

She also writes that the corporate culture at Bank of America was confusing as its leadership changed and the bank swallowed acquisitions that spread its executives across the country.

"I knew there was no real alignment of values when I found myself second- and third-guessing my comments in management team meetings before I made them," she writes.

Bank of America declined to comment.

Dunn: 704-358-5235; Twitter: @andrew_dunn
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