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Bank of America Merrill Lynch has launched a tit-for-tat battle against Swiss rival UBS, poaching the Swiss bank’s former co-head of investment banking to run its investment banking operations in Europe.
BofA said Alex Wilmot-Sitwell – recently made chairman of UBS investment banking when the group hired Andrea Orcel, BofA’s star European dealmaker, as co-head of investment banking – would join in the coming months.
He replaces Mr Orcel and fills the European vacancy left by the simultaneous retirement of Jonathan Moulds.
Tom Montag, head of BofA’s investment bank, sent an internal memo to staff describing Mr Wilmott-Sitwell, 51, as “one of the world’s most experienced international bankers” who would help drive “the continued successful development of our international platform remains one of the key priorities of our firm”.
Mr Orcel, a Merrill banker for more than 20 years, left in acrimonious circumstances, having disgruntled his bosses by lobbying for Mr Moulds’ job only to resign in favour of UBS as he was about to be given the role.
Mr Wilmot-Sitwell, a 17-year UBS veteran, had been co-head of investment banking with Carsten Kengeter until two years ago when he was appointed head of Asia operations. His title at BofA will be president of Europe and emerging markets.