[February 22, 2014]NEW YORK (Reuters) — Chandler Root,
Merrill Lynch's market executive for the U.S. southwest region, is
being transferred to a new post in an apparent demotion, according
to people with knowledge of the situation.
Root's transfer is the second since John Thiel, head of Merrill's
global wealth unit, centralized his management structure shortly
after taking the reins two-and-a-half years ago.
Root, who oversaw thousands of brokers in southern California,
Arizona and Hawaii, has moved to become a branch manager in Paramus,
New Jersey, several well-placed sources inside and outside the bank
said. The decision to move Root came from Thiel, these people said.
A bank spokeswoman declined to comment.
Root was one of 11 so-called "market executives" who report directly
to Thiel and have oversight of Merrill's traditional financial
advisers and its smaller group of private banking advisers who deal
with very wealthy clients. Merrill has not yet replaced Root but
plans to maintain the market executive structure, several people
Root, who has worked at Merrill since 1995, was still listed as
Southwest executive on Merrill's wealth management website on
Friday. He did not respond to a request for comment.
At his post in New Jersey, he replaces former complex manager Ron
Connors. For personal reasons, Connors relocated in recent weeks to
manage Merrill's San Jose, California branch, part of the firm's
Silicon Valley branch complex.
Prior to Thiel's slimming of Merrill's sales and recruiting
structure in October 2011, the firm's "thundering herd" of almost
14,000 financial advisers was managed through three division heads
and 24 regional bosses.
Root is the second of the original 11 executives to have left the
senior posting. In September 2012, James Dickson replaced Brett
Bernard as executive for the Indianapolis-centered Mid East market.
Merrill's private banking and investment group ranks as the
third-largest U.S. broker measured by salesforce, with 13,701
advisers at the end of 2013. The number excludes about 1,500 brokers
at Merrill Edge, a no-frills brokerage unit that is part of parent
company Bank of America's consumer banking segment.
The New York-based brokerage group generated $2.97 billion of profit
last year, up 32 percent from 2012. Its 2013 revenue of $17.8
billion represented just under 20 percent of Bank of America's total
revenue for the year.
(Reporting by Jed Horowitz; editing by