banking

New BofA CEO Moynihan got start in R.I.

Directors including CVS’ Ryan tap Brown, Edwards Angell alum

BLOOMBERG NEWS / ANDREW HARRER
BRIAN MOYNIHAN, shown testifying before Congress last month, was a history major and rugby co-captain at Brown. He graduated in 1981.
Posted 12/17/09

PROVIDENCE – Brian T. Moynihan, a Brown University graduate who once worked at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, has been chosen to succeed Kenneth D. Lewis as Bank of America Corp.’s next chief executive officer and president, the bank said Wednesday.

Bank of America’s directors – who include Thomas M. Ryan, chairman, president and CEO of Woonsocket-based CVS Caremark Corp. – voted unanimously to give the job to Moynihan, currently president of consumer and small-business banking at BofA, the biggest U.S. bank by assets and deposits.

Moynihan, 50, will take over on Jan. 1. He will move his office from Boston to the bank’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., according to the Boston Business Journal. He currently lives in Wellesley, Mass.

Moynihan graduated in 1981 from Brown, where he majored in history, co-captained the rugby team and met his future wife, Susan E. Berry, according to The Boston Globe. Moynihan was one of the four largest donors who helped pay for construction of Brown’s new rugby field on Elmgrove Avenue, which was dedicated in 2004.

After receiving his law degree from the University of Notre Dame, Moynihan returned to Providence and worked for nine years at the law firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP, which was then Edwards & Angell LLP, according to The Wall Street Journal. He is a former chairman of the Travelers Aid Society of Rhode Island and Providence Haitian Project Inc.

While at Edwards & Angell, Moynihan began doing work for Fleet Financial Group Inc., and in 1993 he left Edwards & Angell to join FleetBoston as deputy general counsel.

“It's a horrible feeling to know I will be leaving the firm,” Moynihan said at the time, according to Duncan Johnson, a partner who was Moynihan’s first boss and mentor and who shared his recollection with The Wall Street Journal. “But I have very strong ambitions to rise high in the ranks of Fleet.”

Moynihan stayed with Bank of America after it purchased Fleet in 2004. His positions at Bank of America have included general counsel, head of global wealth management and consumer bank chief.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this important company,” Moynihan said Wednesday in a statement. “We have everything we need at Bank of America to be the best financial services company in the world.”

The Journal reported that Lewis had urged the board to choose Gregory Curl, Bank of America’s chief risk officer, rather than Moynihan to succeed him. CVS’ Ryan and Thomas May, chief executive of the utility company NSTAR, served on Bank of America’s CEO search committee.

Moynihan faces a number of difficult tasks at Bank of America, which is struggling amid rising consumer loan defaults and still working to integrate Merrill Lynch & Co., which it bought in September 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. The bank paid back $45 billion to the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Program on Dec. 9.

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