NEW YORK, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER) today announced executive management changes it said would continue to accelerate progress on key strategic initiatives, including those aimed at taking advantage of financial services reform and worldwide growth opportunities presented by e-commerce and the Internet. John L. (Launny) Steffens, Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., who has guided the spectacular growth of the U.S. Private Client business since 1985, will become Chairman of U.S. Private Client and also will devote a significant amount of time to his broader, companywide management responsibilities as a member of Merrill Lynch's three-person Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, on which he currently serves. This Executive Committee is responsible for overseeing the corporation's global business activities and consists of the three employee members of the Board. The other members are Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David H. Komansky and Vice Chairman Stephen L. Hammerman. E. Stanley O'Neal, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will succeed Mr. Steffens as President of the U.S. Private Client Group. Thomas H. Patrick, Executive Vice President and Chairman, Special Advisory Services, will succeed Mr. O'Neal as Chief Financial Officer. "The passage of financial services reform and the Internet revolution create vast new opportunities for Merrill Lynch," said Mr. Komansky. "With the highly successful introduction of our comprehensive new platform of choice for U.S. investors, Launny can now devote his enormous talents and energy to the next wave of strategic development both for Private Client and Merrill Lynch-at-large. In Stan and Tom we have outstanding executives who are ready to assume these new roles. This is a perfect time for these changes." Among his new responsibilities as Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch, Mr. Steffens, 58, will be the senior executive relationship manager for companies and high net worth individuals in the technology, telecommunications, and biotechnology sectors. Mr. Steffens also will focus on the company's global banking strategy. With the passage of financial services reform in the U.S. and the advance of deregulation globally, Mr. Steffens will oversee the coordination of efforts to create banking products and services that will enable the company to better serve its clients worldwide. Additionally, Mr. Steffens will guide company-wide initiatives to significantly expand the firm's activities in the area of private equity, including the company's direct investments. "Launny Steffens is widely regarded as a visionary in financial services," said Mr. Komansky. "The best measure of his extraordinary leadership is the fact that assets entrusted to Merrill Lynch by our U.S. clients have risen to $1.3 trillion from $189 billion in 1985." During 1999, Mr. Steffens led the design and launch of a new business model in U.S. Private Client, offering an unprecedented array of choices to Merrill Lynch clients, including robust Internet channels. This new offering has accelerated the growth of client assets, and the company took in a record $36 billion of new client assets during the fourth quarter of 1999. "Launny's intellect and drive are legendary, and have long influenced the firm's global business strategies," said Mr. Komansky. "In his new role, he will be in position to contribute even more broadly to the future success of Merrill Lynch." E. Stanley O'Neal Named President, U.S. Private Client Group Succeeding Mr. Steffens as President of U.S. Private Client is E. Stanley O'Neal, 48, who has served as Chief Financial Officer since 1998. He was elected an Executive Vice President in 1997 when he was named Co-Head of the Corporate and Institutional Client Group. "Stan O'Neal brings exceptional leadership skills, strategic ability and proven business acumen to U.S. Private Client," said Mr. Komansky. "He is ideally suited to lead the premier retail brokerage network in the world." Mr. Steffens said, "Having spent most of his career at Merrill Lynch working directly with clients, Stan O'Neal understands that the essence of our business is the client relationship, and that the role our Financial Consultants play is at the very heart of our success. I look forward to working with him to advance our great franchise." Mr. O'Neal joined Merrill Lynch's Investment Banking group in 1986, with client responsibilities in a variety of areas, including high yield, project finance and equity private placement. He headed the Capital Markets Group, working with clients worldwide on debt and equity new issues, and the Investor Strategies Group (ISG), which provides specialized portfolio consulting and investment advisory services to institutional clients. The U.S. Private Client business includes 14,200 Financial Consultants and more than 700 branch offices. The Group serves individuals, small businesses and employee benefit plans, using a planning-based approach to provide asset, liability and transition management services. Thomas H. Patrick Named Chief Financial Officer Mr. O'Neal will be succeeded as Chief Financial Officer by Thomas H. Patrick, Executive Vice President and Chairman, Special Advisory Services. Mr. Patrick, 56, previously served as CFO in 1989 and 1990. Mr. Patrick headed the Merrill Lynch Insurance Group from 1990 to 1992 and Equity Markets from 1992 to 1994. He currently serves as one of the company's senior-most investment bankers, responsible for relationships with selected corporate clients. He joined Merrill Lynch in 1978 with the acquisition of investment bank White, Weld & Co. "Tom Patrick is a seasoned executive, who has served as an innovative and trusted financial advisor, both within Merrill Lynch and on behalf of our clients, " said Mr. Komansky. "Tom's previous management experience as Chief Financial Officer and in other capacities enables him to assume immediate responsibility for the company's financial management activities." Mr. Patrick has had wide experience in the financial services industry, including commercial banking, investment banking and insurance. He has advised numerous major corporations on financing strategy, structure and techniques. He was co-inventor of Merrill Lynch's proprietary LYONS(TM) product, and introduced many corporate issuers to its advantages. The Chief Financial Officer oversees these functions: Corporate Audit, Corporate Services, Corporate Risk Management, Finance, Investor Relations, Tax and Treasury functions.
SOURCE Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.