NationsBank Corp. confirmed late Tuesday that Thomas W. Weisel has resigned as chairman and chief executive of NationsBanc Montgomery Securities.
Lewis W. Coleman, a Montgomery senior managing director and co-head of investment banking, has been tapped to succeed Mr. Weisel, the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking company said. Mr. Coleman spent 10 years at NationsBank's merger partner, BankAmerica Corp., including a stint as chief financial officer. He joined Montgomery in 1995.
NationsBank also said that Jerome S. Markowitz, a senior managing director and 11-year veteran of the firm, had resigned as well. A successor is expected to be named "shortly," according to the bank. Both executives said they plan to stay with the firm for the next two weeks to ensure a smooth transition.
Analysts continued to speculate that other high-ranking Montgomery executives would follow suit. Those likely to leave, company sources have said, include Gerald Rosenfeld, a Lazard Freres banker who joined this year to run an equity investment fund; and Derek Lemke-von Ammon, a senior managing director of private placements.
The high-profile departures from the San Francisco-based investment bank suggest that despite lucrative compensation packages, the firm's top management could no longer accept the tightening control of its banking parent.
Dean Eberling, an analyst with Putnam Lovell deGuardiola & Thornton, said a combination of conditions, but especially cultural differences, is driving high-profile Montgomery executives from the firm.
"There's an increasing sense that investment-banking trading, sales, and research professionals will move out from under the umbrella of commercial banks," he said. "It's just a different mentality."
Mr. Eberling predicts that those cultural issues will outweigh any financial compensation packages that banks throw at investment bankers snared through an acquisition. As their autonomy slipped away, financially secure executives at Montgomery had little incentive to stay on, he said.
In top-level meetings during the last two weeks, Mr. Weisel fought openly with bank executives about everything from the limits of bank control over the unit to what name would appear on the subsidiary's business cards.
A primary issue for the executives hinged on NationsBank's decision to combine Montgomery's high-yield business with the bank's.