To the Editor:
As a former colleague I wanted to comment on the recent appointment of Brian T. Moynihan as Bank of America's next CEO.
I had the opportunity to work closely with Brian from 1991-2004 and had the chance to see him rise from the position of a much trusted outside legal counsel for Fleet Bank, through his work in corporate strategy and then going on to lead many of the business lines for Fleet Boston Financial and ultimately Bank of America.
During this time I saw him transition throughout the leadership circles of Terry Murray, Chad Gifford and Ken Lewis, three high profile, successful CEO's, with distinctly different personalities. He became a trusted advisor of them all because of his intelligence, candor, energy and work ethic. Whenever there was a major problem to be solved or a significant opportunity to be seized, you could guarantee that Brian was always sought out for his advice and strategy.
If there has been a criticism of Brian, it is that he is not a great communicator. I think that this is due in part because when Brian looks at a given situation he is generally able to look at it and grasp it more quickly than most, often times on a multi dimensional level, so when he goes on to explain things he can sometimes leave his audience in a kind a of a "what-the-heck-did-he-just-say?" cloud of dust. However, Brian has outstanding communicators around him such as Anne Finucane and Jim Mahoney who can focus their attention on the message and the brand, while Brian focuses on his self described, number one goal: execution.
Also, much has been made of the claim that Brian is "a Boston guy", which I believe does not give a full picture his geographic history. Here you have a guy that was born and raised in Ohio, educated in Rhode Island and Indiana (Brown University and Notre Dame Law) and has worked in Providence, Boston, New York and Charlotte. The fact that he is a Massachusetts resident hopefully bodes well for the region, but give credit to Chairman Emeritus Chad Gifford, Tom Ryan, CEO of CVS and NStar's Chief, Tom May for recommending Brian to the entire board of Bank of America, not for being the "Boston guy", but for being the best guy for the job.
But if you must make a Boston connection, I think that comparing Brian's experience to that of the Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis makes for a compelling analogy. Here you have a ball player in the prime of his career, recently named team MVP for 2009, a proven all-star at third base, a "golden glove" winner at first base, and a very capable out fielder when needed in an emergency. All the while he is able to put up big numbers offensively, wherever he hits in the line up. Much the same can be said of Brian Moynihan as he has achieved great success in any leadership position regardless of where he has been placed.
I wish him an "all-star" career and, along with Bank of America's customers, employees and shareholders, great success.
James F.X. Doherty
Attorney at Law