BofA CFO's exit tied to desire for top job: sources

Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:37pm EDT
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By Dan Freed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The surprise departure of Bruce Thompson as finance chief of Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Quote) reflected his desire to lead a company, an outcome that seemed unlikely to happen soon if he stayed, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The bank announced late Wednesday that Thompson, 51, was stepping down after more than five-and-a-half years as chief financial officer, but gave no explanation for the move.

Thompson's interest in heading a company was at least one reason for his leaving, the sources said: his ambitions ranged beyond managing cost cutting campaigns and fixing a big bank's books.

Thompson, 51, believed he would have a long wait to be CEO of Bank of America, given that CEO Brian Moynihan is just 55, one of the two sources said. The two sources said they spoke to Thompson. Thompson did not return a call seeking comment.

At other banks, similar stories have played out. JPMorgan Chase & Co's (JPM.N: Quote) Jamie Dimon has headed the bank since the end of 2005, and a series of senior executives that were once seen as successors, ranging from Michael Cavanagh to Jes Staley, have left the bank.

Earlier this year Morgan Stanley's (MS.N: Quote) CFO Ruth Porat, who had been viewed as a candidate for the top job at the bank, instead became finance chief at Google Inc (GOOGL.O: Quote).

The Wall Street Journal reported that Thompson's once close ties with Moynihan had frayed in recent months.

Bank of America has had difficulty with stress tests since they were introduced in 2009. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve said the bank "exhibited deficiencies in its capital planning process." It was unclear whether those struggles played a role in Thompson's departure.   Continued...

A Bank of America sign is shown on a building in downtown Los Angeles, California January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake