* Meissner named head of corporate and investment bank
* Two other executives reassigned
* Change comes amid difficult markets
By Rick Rothacker
Jan 29 (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp is shaking up the leadership of its investment bank as it looks to find its footing in a difficult market environment.
In the reorganization, Christian Meissner will become head of global corporate investment banking, while two former co-heads of the unit will take on new roles, according to a memo sent to employees on Sunday by co-chief operating officer Tom Montag that was obtained by Reuters.
Meissner will report to Montag, the former Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs Group Inc executive who runs global banking and markets operations for Bank of America.
Paul Donofrio will become head of global corporate banking credit and transaction banking with responsibility for global treasury services, loan products and other services. Michael Rubinoff will become chairman of GCIB, where he will be charged with deepening client relationships.
Both executives will also report to Montag.
The new structure comes as the corporate and investment bank adapts “to a changing market environment to more effectively meet the needs of our clients,” Montag said in the memo.
Montag joined Bank of America in 2009 when the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank bought Merrill as it verged on collapse in the financial crisis.
Bank of America spokesman John Yiannacopoulos confirmed the contents of the memo, but declined to comment further.
The reshuffling puts a relative newcomer to Bank of America in charge of capital markets operations that underwrite stock and debt offerings as well as bankers who advise corporations on mergers and other transactions. The bank hired Meissner in April from Nomura Holdings Inc, the Japanese bank, to head up investment banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Currently based in London, the former Lehman Brothers veteran will move to New York, Montag said in the memo. Donofrio and Rubinoff are also based in New York.
The moves come after a challenging year for Montag’s business, which saw net income fall by more than half to about $3 billion in 2011 from last year as clients pulled back amid uncertainty over the European debt crisis. The unit has been slashing staff amid a decline in revenue and last week investment bankers learned that part of their bonuses would be paid in stock in lieu of cash.
More cuts are also expected in the unit as part of the second phase of an efficiency initiative called Project New BAC. The first phase is set to eliminate 30,000 jobs over the next few years in a bid to trim $5 billion in annual expenses.
Executives are expected to complete planning for the second phase in April. That part of New BAC could eliminate up to $3 billion in expenses. It is expected to eliminate fewer jobs.