Job Hunting

Bank of America CFO Resigns

Sarbox took the "fun" out of being a CFO, said de Molina, who may head back to his risk-taker roots.
Stephen TaubDecember 4, 2006

In a stunning announcement, Bank of America Chief Financial Officer Alvaro G. de Molina said he will resign after just 18 months on the job. He will be succeeded by Joe Price, who is the risk management executive for Global Corporate and Investment Banking.

Bank of America, the nation’s second largest bank, which made the announcement after the market closed Friday afternoon, did not explain why de Molina, 49, abruptly decided to leave. “Al has done a great job in the many roles he has played for our company, most recently as CFO over the past year,” said Kenneth D. Lewis, chief executive officer, in a statement. “We’ve made good progress in the way we communicate with investors and analysts, and Al’s work has directly benefited our company and shareholders.”

De Molina, who has been with Bank of America for 17 years, said in a statement: “While I have enjoyed many aspects of being CFO, I also am very interested in other business opportunities, and I have decided that now is the right time for me to make a move.” In an interview with Bloomberg, de Molina cited the regulatory constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as one of the reasons for his departure. Sarbox regulations, he said, made his job, “a little less fun.” Indeed, de Molina noted that he likes taking risks, “and you don’t want a CFO who’s a risk taker” in this regulatory environment, he told Bloomberg.

Furthermore, de Molina told The New York Times, that nothing at Bank of America needs fixing. I am looking for something that will be more impactful.” The paper credited de Molina with helping to build the bank’s treasury functions. Prior to his appointment as CFO, de Molina served as CEO of Banc of America Securities, leading the markets and products organizations within Global Corporate & Investment Banking. Prior to this role, he served as president of Global Capital Markets & Investment Banking.

Previously, de Molina was corporate treasurer, chaired the company’s asset/liability committee, and had management responsibility for all treasury functions, including all investment and funding activities, as well as pensions, insurance and economics. Prior to joining Bank of America, de Molina served in the lead financial role for Emerging Markets at J.P. Morgan. He began his career in 1979 with PriceWaterhouse.

“I’ve been largely involved in running hard and building businesses,” de Molina told the Times. “It is not the same as being the [CFO] at a well-managed company like Bank of America.” De Molina also told the paper the time was right to leave because he had accomplished what he set out to do and could sign off on the 2006 financial statement. He also told the Times that he is interested in becoming the chief executive of a public company or running a hedge fund or private equity firm. “I had a long track record in trading and managing money,” he said in the interview. “I could do something like that.”

The paper pointed out that de Molina was born in Cuba and grew up in northern New Jersey. De Molina replaced Marc Oken, who resigned as CFO in September 2005 after just 17 months on the job, according to Reuters.

Price joined the Finance Group of Bank of America in 1993 after serving on the bank’s engagement team at PriceWaterhouse. While at PriceWaterhouse, he was a member of the Financial Institutions National Industry Group specializing in banking and acquisitions and derivatives. Price, de Molina, and Oken also had spent time with PriceWaterhouse.