Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Chief Executive Robert Kelly told employees Monday he isn't leaving to take the top job at Bank of America Corp.

"I wanted you to know — and to hear from me directly — that I'm not leaving BNY Mellon and I look forward to working with all of you to make this great company even stronger," Kelly wrote in a memo.

The 55-year-old Kelly had emerged over the weekend as the front-runner to succeed Kenneth Lewis, who is set to retire at yearend, according to people familiar with the situation. But the two sides were locked in negotiations over his compensation, these people said.

The outcome of the pay discussions isn't known. Kelly also had raised the possibility of moving Bank of America's headquarters to New York and becoming chairman.

According to a person familiar with the matter, Kelly told Bank of New York Mellon directors earlier Monday about his decision.

In the memo, Kelly didn't specifically mention Bank of America, referring only to "another bank" that approached him "as part of their CEO search process."

"It's not opportunity that I sought," he wrote in the memo. "After talking with them, I firmly concluded that my place is here at BNY Mellon."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.