As most of you are probably aware, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch has seen a mass exodus of senior executives since Hank Paulson forced the two to merge in December. This, of course, has been upsetting, and global head of M&A Steven Baronoff admits today to the Journal that it was tough to see top talent, which is to say the Merrill employees, go. (His comment was obviously a cleaned up version for the press, shareholders presumably not appreciating Baronoff shooting the paper straight with how things really went down, i.e. "It's like this see. Buncha guys went into Lewis's office one afternoon when they knew he'd be three sheets to the wind, so around 2ish. Lewis thinks they're there to bond over a few troughs of Scotch, comes around his desk to shake their hands, trips and falls. While he's down there they drop the bomb they're leaving, to a very confused KL-- "Wahh? I thought...but the Scotch?"-- who is still on the floor once they're halfway to the door, which he throws an empty bottle of Boone's at while shouting 'Fine, get the hell out of here and don't come back, don't you ever think you can come back!' before breaking into an uncontrollable fit of drunk tears.")
You'd think, maybe, that there'd be some nervousness about replacing the defectors given that BAC/MER is currently tied with Citi for first place in Train Wreck League Tables. But you'd think wrong. Over at Bank of Amerillwide they're totally confident they can not only score some fresh tail but best in breed. Because everyone's desperate for work? No. Because Bank of Amerillwide is just so damn hot.
"Given the quality of this platform, attracting talent is not going to be a big issue," said Baronoff. Does anyone have any idea where is self-assurance, against all odds, coming from? Is it coming from the place wherein Ken Lewis is planning on slippin' some roofies in the drinks of potential hires? (If that's it, carry on, just wanted to inquire if there was anything concrete to back the statement up.)