By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Aluísio Alves
SAO PAULO, March 11 Bank of America Corp
on Tuesday named Rodrigo Xavier as the top executive for its
wholesale and investment banking unit in Brazil, where the
second-largest U.S. lender has enjoyed fast growth in recent
Xavier, a former head of UBS AG's Banco UBS
Pactual SA investment banking unit in Brazil and founder of
investment firm Vinci Partners, will replace Alexandre Bettamio
at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, according to an internal memo
obtained by Reuters. Bettamio was named in September as Bank of
America's head of Latin American operations, based in New York.
Xavier will report to Bettamio and is expected to start on
"Brazil is a core component of our global strategy and a
country where we have seen striking success," the memo quoted
Bettamio as saying. "We will look to Rodrigo's entrepreneurial
spirit and ability to deliver strong results as we continue to
drive our strategy forward."
Bettamio became head of Brazil investment banking for
Merrill Lynch & Co in March 2008, and was made chief executive
of the unit after Bank of America took it over in Sept. 2008.
Under Bettamio, Bank of America Merrill Lynch expanded into
corporate and wholesale banking, increased corporate client
coverage by more than 50 percent and became one of the top two
equity underwriters in Brazil.
Xavier, a Brazilian with more than 20 years of experience in
different segments of the local financial industry, left Vinci
Partners last year after a four-year stint as a partner and head
of asset management, among other executive positions.
The executive will "work closely with the regional heads
across all lines of business to ensure we capture the many
market opportunities," Bettamio was quoted by the memo as