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ELITE 8 2012: Bill Pappas Reduces, Rebuilds, and Replaces to Move BofA Merrill Lynch Forward

Bank of America Merrill Lynch CIO for global wholesale banking technology and operations Bill Pappas and his team of thousands look to get more lean and gain efficiencies. The technology and operations organization is charged with simplifying IT and minimizing operational risk.

Sharing a Passion for Tech

Of course, successfully executing so many new technology initiatives requires an innovative workforce, and Pappas is confident that Bank of America can continue to attract top tech talent as the bank's technology evolves further. "We have a very deliberate plan to develop and attract talent," he reveals.

Part of that development plan is a program offered in partnership with the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. Designed to allow BofA associates to apply what they learn to their normal work environment, the program -- which includes a combination of classroom lectures, case studies and action learning projects -- teaches employees how to design, implement and manage technology programs, processes and people so they align with the business strategy and add business value, according to Pappas. He notes that employees must be selected by management to participate in the program; they cannot apply for it.

The aim of the program, Pappas indicates, is to equip the Bank of America tech and ops team's high-potential leaders with a better understanding of how to deliver competitive advantage through superior technology management. But the partnership also gives the bank the opportunity to recruit top talent at the school, he adds.


The most important thing for any professional, Pappas believes, is not just career advancement, but to "broaden your experience, even if that means moving laterally or even taking a step down to get a new skill set." An avid runner, Pappas goes for a five-mile run every morning at 5 a.m. He picked up the practice some 10 years ago as a way to keep healthy, but, he says, it now provides him with other benefits, too. "It helps me balance before I come to the office."

Reflecting on his own early career, Pappas says he remains as excited about his job today as he was on the day he first walked in. In fact, he adds, that is one of the keys to a successful and fulfilling professional life. "My still-mentor told me a long time ago to make sure you come into the office every day with the same intensity and excitement as your first day on the job and execute every single assignment you have with passion," he recalls. "That is still the best advice I have ever received."

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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