DUBAI Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) has appointed co-heads for its corporate and investment banking business in the Middle East and North Africa, it said on Monday, as part of a move to integrate the two businesses in key emerging markets.
The second largest U.S. bank has appointed Wadih Boueiz, a veteran Merrill Lynch banker, and Hakim Karoui, previously with Citigroup Inc (C.N), to the new roles, the bank said in a statement.
London-based Boueiz, who has been with Merrill Lynch for 13 years, will remain head of the sovereign wealth fund business for the Middle East and North Africa along with his new role, the bank said.
Karoui will be in charge of the debt capital business and corporate banking activities in the region aside from his new role.
"This is a very smart move. Integrating the corporate and investment bank will help BofA to leverage its balance sheet and grab more business opportunities in emerging markets," a banking source familiar with the matter said.
Bank of America's investment bank has been hit by a string of departures and undergone a series of reshuffles this year with, for example, high-profile dealmaker Andrea Orcel resigning to join UBS UBSN.VX.
Waleed El-Amir, the investment banking head for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, resigned in May.
In the region, the bank advised on the $1.68 billion sale of private equity firm Abraaj Capital's stake in Turkish hospital chain Aciabdem last year to a Malaysian sovereign fund, and Russian mobile phone group Vimpelcom's VIP.N acquisition of Wind Telecom.
The bank is trying to follow its U.S. model of an integrated corporate and investment bank in emerging markets following the acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2008.
It named Aukse Jurkute and Roman Zilber as co-heads for its corporate and investment banking for Russia and the CIS nations last week.
Jurkute was previously head of equity capital markets for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, while Zilber joined in 2010 as the head of corporate banking in Russia and CIS from Credit Agricole.
Both the executives will be based in Moscow as part of the new role.
(Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine in Moscow; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark Potter)