Byron Vielehr, chief technology officer of Merrill Lynch's Private Client Group, has left the firm. Vielehr's duties will be carried out by John Killeen, who has been named head of Global Private Client Technology, according to a Merrill spokeswoman.
According to industry sources, Vielehr, who was charged with overseeing a five-year, $1 billion outsourcing deal with Thomson Financial for wealth-management broker workstations reportedly left by request of upper management.
A Merrill spokeswoman denied that Vielehr was asked to leave, and says that he instead made the decision to leave the firm in mid-December to pursue other opportunities. Vielehr could not be reached for comment.
The project had fallen behind its timetable, says one source knowledgeable of the situation who requested anonymity, and suggests that Vielehr took the fall for its failure to deliver. "Clearly if you look at everything that was to be delivered last year, it was not delivered. The writing's on the wall," he says.
The source adds that "Merrill is a difficult place," ridden with politics. While Vielehr arrived at Merrill from Strong Funds in 2000, the source says that Killeen is a long-time Merrill employee, who has worked on other projects with John Cummings, Merrill's head of Global Technology & Services and senior vice president, in the past.
The Merrill spokeswoman concedes that the schedule for the Thomson-workstation outsourcing project has been changed, but she declined to comment on specifics. "Nothing has changed, the contracts are the same," she says.