One of Merrill Lynch's 10 regional managing directors, who report directly to senior management at the firm, has announced his retirement.
Guy Williams, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based regional director for southern California and the “frontier region,” is leaving after 17 years at the firm.
Williams reportedly is returning to Colorado, where he previously worked for Merrill. He also had been a director in Boise, Idaho and San Diego and was head of the Mountain district for Merrill from 1998 to 2000.
According to two sources with knowledge of Williams' plans, he has ambitions to run for public office in Colorado. A representative at his office said Williams was unavailable, having already left Merrill, but a memo from Dan Sontag, head of Merrill's advisory division, says Williams plans to “pursue other interests outside the private sector.”
Williams will be replaced, according to a Merrill spokeswoman, by Greg Mech, who was national sales manager for the advisory division.
Meanwhile, there were rumors that another regional managing director was expected to leave the firm within a couple of months. However, a spokeswoman could not confirm this.
Merrill Lynch in recent years has steadily reduced the number of regional managing directors, from more than 30 several years ago to the current nine. The paring back coincided with the firm's effort to reduce rep headcount, which currently sits at 13,500, down from a peak of 20,000 in 2000.