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Noski Turns over BofA CFO Reins to Thompson

Dealing with a family health issue, the finance chief will become vice chairman. Thompson stays as chief risk officer for now

Bank of America Corp. CFO Charles Noski -- named by the giant bank a year ago after a career heading finance at such diverse outfits as Northrop Grumman, AT&T, United Technologies and Hughes Electronics -- will turn that role over to Bruce Thompson by the end of the June quarter.

Thompson, currently BofA's chief risk officer, will remain in the risk role until a successor can be found, the company said.

The 58-year-old Noski, a native Californian, had planned to move to BofA headquarters in Charlotte this year, but it was reported that the illness of a family member prevented him from leaving the West Coast. The bank said Noski would become vice chairman. Noski will continue to advise CEO Brian Moynihan and other managers "on strategic and capital management matters and on the resolution of legacy issues, including helping to shape the consumer mortgage model going forward," the company said, and he will also deal with client development activities as needed.

"We value Chuck's judgment, counsel, and experience," Moynihan said in a statement. "I am very pleased he has accepted this leadership position, which also enables him to attend to important personal matters." In addition to Noski's past roles at Northrop Grumman, AT&T, Hughes and United Technologies, he also served as a senior advisor to the Blackstone Group.

A Global Markets Background

Before serving as chief risk officer, Thompson headed Global Capital Markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Previously, he was co-head of Global Credit Products, and head of Global Leveraged Finance. During his tenure as chief risk officer, Thompson oversaw development and implementation of the company's enterprise risk framework and improved the international risk governance programs. Said Moynihan, "Bruce has proven leadership in the global financial and capital markets. These skills, together with his insights into risk management, prepare him to be an outstanding chief financial officer."

In addition to naming the 46-year-old Thompson as CFO, Moynihan said that Gary Lynch, 60 would serve as global chief of legal, compliance, and regulatory relations, a newly created position. General counsel Ed O'Keefe will report to Lynch, who will be based in New York and report to Moynihan.

Lynch joins Bank of America from Morgan Stanley, where he is currently its London-based vice chairman. He was previously chief legal officer for the firm, and held senior leadership positions at Credit Suisse and Credit Suisse First Boston. He also served as director of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The morning of key management announcements was also a morning for BofA earnings. The company said it earned $2 billion, or 17 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter, down from $3.2 billion, or 28 cents, a year earlier. In the most-recent fourth quarter, BofA had reported a net loss of $1.2 billion, or 16 cents per diluted share. It said the latest results were positively affected by lower credit costs, gains from equity investments, and higher asset management fees and investment banking fees. Partially offset those factors, though, were higher legacy mortgage-related costs, higher litigation expenses, and lower sales and trading revenue from the record levels reported in the first quarter of 2010.

"Strong growth in deposit balances and positive contributions from five of our six businesses reflect the steady improvement in the broader economy," Moynihan said. "Our customer-focused strategy is working well, and we also benefited from improved credit quality. While still soft, the economy is healing; we see retail spending up versus the year-ago period and continued declines in bankruptcy filings and delinquency rates."

Short of Analyst Estimates

The 36% fall in first-quarter earnings left its latest adjusted earnings below the average analyst estimate of 26 cents a share, according to Bloomberg News. Its report also noted that the 51-year-old Moynihan had sought to assure investors that the bank is on the path to recovery after last year's $2.2 billion net loss.

The deficit was driven by $12.4 billion in mortgage and credit-card unit writedowns, most of them tied to loans and takeovers that predate his promotion to CEO in January, 2010. Bank of America set aside about $3 billion to settle some disputed home loans last year, and shunted almost half of its 13.9 million mortgages into a "bad" bank unit designed to clean up or dispose of underperformers.

"This could be the first clue that some of Moynihan's management strategies are starting to take root," Greg Donaldson, chairman of Evansville, Ind.-based Donaldson Capital Management, told Bloomberg. "Bank of America is valuable, everybody knows that. The problem has been their legacy issues."

Bank of America shares have fallen 32% in the past year as of yesterday to $13.13, the worst performance in the 24-company KBW Bank Index, on concern that claims from investors and homeowners for faulty mortgages and foreclosures will cost more than Moynihan has budgeted. Most of the firm's retail and investment-banking operations other than mortgage lending will return to so-called normalized earnings next year, Moynihan said in a March 8 conference.


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