Bank Watch

Bank of America veteran David Darnell steps down as global wealth head at year’s end

Bank of America senior executive David Darnell, whose tenure with the Charlotte-based bank and predecessor companies spans more than three decades, is preparing to pass the torch at the end of this year.
Bank of America senior executive David Darnell, whose tenure with the Charlotte-based bank and predecessor companies spans more than three decades, is preparing to pass the torch at the end of this year. Bloomberg

Bank of America senior executive David Darnell, whose tenure with the Charlotte-based bank and predecessor companies spans more than three decades, is preparing to pass the torch at the end of this year.

Darnell’s departure was first announced in July, when the bank said the head of global wealth and investment management would retire in the fourth quarter of this year. In an amended securities filing last week, the bank said Darnell will retire on June 30 but no longer serve as a vice chairman and head of global wealth as of Jan. 1.

His departure caps a year of change in Bank of America’s upper ranks, including the exit of Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson. The bank also elevated Charlotte-based human resources head Andrea Smith to the newly created position of chief administrative officer.

As previously announced, Darnell’s duties are being transferred to Terry Laughlin, a New York-based executive who most recently served as president of strategic initiatives.

Laughlin’s responsibility for the bank’s annual capital plan submission to the Federal Reserve is shifting to Smith. Smith will also assume Laughlin’s role in overseeing the bank’s “living wills” that must be submitted to regulators.

Darnell, 62, is expected to continue serving as a resource for the company as he remains on the payroll for the next six months. His 2014 compensation of $8.75 million ranked third behind CEO Brian Moynihan’s $13 million and Thompson’s $10.75 million.

Darnell signaled the possibility of retirement in 2014 when he accepted a vice chairman role and relocated to Tampa, Fla., from Charlotte, giving up the co-chief operating officer role he took on in 2011. Bank of America in the past has placed senior leaders in vice chairmen roles as a prelude to retirement.

Though he relinquished the COO duties, Darnell continued to report to Moynihan and lead global wealth and investment management. Tom Montag, a former Goldman Sachs executive who joined Bank of America in its 2009 Merrill Lynch acquisition, became the company’s sole COO.

Montag also assumed Darnell’s role over business banking.

A Charlotte native and former Charlotte Chamber chairman, Darnell joined Bank of America predecessor North Carolina National Bank in 1979 as a credit analyst in Greensboro.

As NCNB became NationsBank and then Bank of America, Darnell moved across the country to hold key posts, from middle market banking group president to Florida commercial division executive.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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