More Wachovia, Less Prudential

More Wachovia, Less Prudential

Consolidation of management positions continues apace at Wachovia with the departure of two regional presidents and the firm’s former “broker advocate.” All three are former Prudential managers, marking a continuation of a trend in which Pru managers lose their seats to Wachovia’s in the game of musical chairs that is a post-merger consolidation.

But at least one observer declines to characterize the effects of the consolidation as a concerted effort by Wachovia to purge Pru execs.

“It just seems like the basic restructuring with all the combination of offices,” one recruiter pointed out. “It’s to be expected.”

In the last week, Rick Capozzi, regional president for Wachovia’s northeast region, which includes New England and upstate New York, resigned to accept a position at Merrill Lynch, although it is currently unknown in what capacity. A search is underway to replace Capozzi, who had joined Prudential in May 2002.

Meanwhile, Bob Drake, who was the regional president for the state of Florida, also has resigned from the firm. Drake joined Prudential in Pennsylvania in 1997 before being transferred to Florida. He is replaced on an interim basis by Scot Winter, a 10-year veteran of the firm who until now has worked as one of Wachovia’s regional officers in Newport Beach, Calif.

In addition, Tom Owens, who had served as field advocate for Prudential, is scheduled to leave the firm as well. His position is being assumed by the private client services group headed by David Kowach at Wachovia, according to a firm spokesman. Owens, a 30-year Pru vet, was reportedly a confidante of Michael Rice, the former president of the private client group.

Rice was second in command at the outset of the Wachovia-Prudential merger of operations, but he elected to leave the firm near the end of 2003. Jim Donley, a 35-year veteran of Wachovia’s predecessors, replaced him. There have been rumors that more regional managers with ties to Prudential will be forced out in coming months, but so far those could not be confirmed.

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