Jeff Kaplan, head of global M&A over at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is off to go work for one of the firm’s biggest clients. The King is dead, long live the King!

The Wall Street Journal has the memo:

‘Global Mergers & Acquisitions Management Announcement

To: All GBAM Employees

We are pleased to announce that effective immediately Steven Baronoff, chairman of Global Mergers & Acquisitions, will have additional responsibility and assume Jeff Kaplan’s role leading the business. Steve, who was named chairman of Global M&A in 2009, will continue to serve as our most senior advisor to deal teams and clients globally. The regional M&A heads will continue in their roles and will drive the growth of the business with Steve’s guidance.

Steve began his Wall Street career at Merrill Lynch in 1986 where he held a variety of senior roles and became head of the global M&A business in 2000. He has advised on more than $1 trillion in transactions, notably Pepsico in the acquisitions of Pepsi Bottling Group and Pepsi Americas, Procter & Gamble in the acquisition of Gillette, Equity Office in the sale to Blackstone, and Sara Lee in its recently announced separation transaction. Steve holds a J.D. from The Yale Law School and a B.A. in Economics from Brown University.

Steve’s appointment follows Jeff Kaplan’s decision to join Bank of America Merrill Lynch client, Appaloosa Management, where he will become chief operating officer, reporting to founder David Tepper.

Jeff joined Merrill Lynch in 1987 and has served in a number of leadership roles in both the M&A group and Leveraged Finance. Prior to his appointment as global head of M&A and Corporate Finance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, he was managing director and global head of Financial Sponsors at Merrill Lynch. Jeff has led a number of landmark deals, including most recently Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment.

We thank Jeff for his dedication and leadership and look forward to working with him in the future’.