The postcrisis organizational changes at $2.5 trillion-in-assets Bank of America Corp. didnt stop with the merger with Merrill Lynch & Co. or Brian Moynihans replacing Kenneth Lewis as CEO. In January they also thrust Catherine Bessant into the role of global technology and operations executive.
BofA has a 150-country reach, and its retail business alone consists of 5,900 offices, 58 million consumer and small-business relationships, 18,000 automated teller machines and more than 30 million active online customers. A 28-year BofA veteran, Bessant, 49, had mainly been a client of the 100,000-employee, technology-focused group she now heads, most recently as president of global corporate banking.
Deciding which services should run on rails that are similar, and which should be customized is a central concern, she says, and risk mitigation is a priority. No bank can be successful without taking risk, but its about being brilliant at it. Also high on the agenda: consolidation of data centers. A lot of our complexity is because of this tremendous history of growth by acquisition, she notes. Now that era is over.
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