Bank of America Corp. still has some distance to go on its long road to recovery, but its earnings turnaround and the completion of large-scale systems initiatives give global technology and operations executive Catherine Bessant some leeway to look longer-term. In the first quarter $2.2 trillion-in-assets BofA quadrupled net income, to $2.6 billion, from the same period a year earlier and lowered noninterest expenses by $1 billion. The Charlotte, North Carolinabased banking company has largely completed the multiyear task of unifying the operations of its many acquisitions, including troubled mortgage subsidiary Countrywide Financial Corp. The technology and process improvements that contributed to these positive developments will also be critical to spur growth in the business, says Bessant, a career commercial banker who has been in her current role since 2010. Overseeing a massive workforce of 100,000 employees and contractors, the 53-year-old says talent is key to the banks success, the desired skill sets are changing, and she is recruiting accordingly. We wont be hiring for code writing and classic technology ability, she explains. Increasingly, the job of a technologist is helping to translate the business vision of the firm and using technology to enable that vision. We will be looking for people who can conceive a business idea, get the application developed and get it to market.
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