The FT reports that the two most senior European executives at Merrill Lynch have confirmed that they will stand down.
Michael Marks and Paul Roy have now announced their retirements from the firm. Both came to Merrill following the 1995 aquisition of Smith New Court. Marks, 60, is thought to have been negotiating his exit from the firm for the last 18 months or so.
The latest senior departures at the top of the firm in Europe will be seen as further evidence that Stan O'Neal, Merrill's chief executive, is consolidating his position. It is thought that he will replace the departing duo with 'close' associates.
Many feel that Merrill's energies in Europe have been too focused on asset management in the recent past and that, as a result, the firm has slipped far behind investment banking rivals Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. O'Neal now has an opportunity to put in his own men at the helm in Europe to ensure that they pursue his own agenda.