Barbara Desoer to step down at Bank of America

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The perpetual crisis at Bank of America has claimed another big-name executive.

Barbara Desoer was once an executive on the rise, mentioned every now and then as a candidate to lead the bank some day. That was before the mortgage crisis and the disastrous Countrywide purchase rocked Bank of America to its foundation. Since then, Desoer has seen her portfolio whittled down, and it is no surprise that she has announced she will leave the bank.

Tellingly, the bank has said that it will not replace Desoer, who spent 34 years, most of them glorious, at the Charlotte bank. It’s sad that a model career has ended this way. As recently as 2010, she was named one of the most powerful women in business by Fortune. But controversy became a constant companion--even when she moved to the West Coast--once Bank of America started to reel and the Countrywide challenge proved to be too much.

Desoer represents the second high-profile female executive at the bank to see her career stall. The other was Sallie Krawcheck. Desoer once reported directly to CEO Brian Moynihan. But after a recent reorganization, she was placed under COO David Darnell. Desoer held the title president of home loans until the bitter end, though she had been forced to relinquish control. Her final task was to help integrate residential mortgages into consumer and small-business banking. That work is apparently done.

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