Magazine article American Banker

KeyCorp Names B of A Veteran as Corporate Chief

Magazine article American Banker

KeyCorp Names B of A Veteran as Corporate Chief

Article excerpt

KeyCorp, struggling with an image problem as it works to restructure, has selected a prominent figure from the world of high-yield bonds and leveraged lending to lead its corporate bank.

The $81 billion-asset Cleveland company on Tuesday announced that Thomas Bunn, the former head of debt capital raising at Bank of America Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., has been named its senior executive vice president of corporate finance. Mr. Bunn, 58, is set to arrive next month, KeyCorp said. He will succeed James S. Bingay, also 58, who announced last fall that he would retire.

Mr. Bunn will report directly to Key's chief executive officer, Henry L. Meyer, and will oversee large corporate and middle-market commercial banking, commercial real estate, equipment financing, specialized industries, cash management, and the company's business-to-business Internet unit.

KeyCorp has stumbled on the corporate banking front, where it suffered big losses after being forced to take more reserves for a growing portfolio of bad loans. In mid-January the company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $174 million after adding more than $700 million to its loan-loss reserves. Its full-year profits fell 87%, to $132 million.

Analysts say they consider 2002 a do-or-die year for KeyCorp. "They are either going to turn it around or the board will sell," Denis Laplante, an analyst at Fox-Pitt, Kelton Inc., said when the fourth-quarter loss was announced.

Mr. Meyer indicated that Mr. Bunn's hiring was meant to help burnish the company's image while it fixes its loan problems. About 50% of the company's annual earnings come from corporate banking.

"Tom has been extraordinarily successful at the most senior levels of corporate finance and investment banking," Mr. Meyer said in a press statement. "We expect Tom to raise dramatically our ability to create profitable cross-business growth opportunities in the areas of investment banking and capital markets. …

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