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BNY Mellon CEO 'not pleased' with Q3 growth, continues company transformation

Bank of New York Mellon Corp., which has seen an executive suite overhaul in the past year, may continue to look outside the company for its top employees.

Charles Scharf took over as CEO in July 2017 and as chairman of the board in January. Since taking the reigns, he has also brought on a new C-suite management team, including a CFO, COO of technology, and chief technology officer who all started in 2018. A company transformation is underway, but Scharf said it is still in the "earlier innings" of change.

"This is not a question of replacing every job with someone on the outside," Scharf said on a call to discuss third quarter earnings. "But it's a substantial list of people in very senior jobs which we think will be very important not just in their areas, but [in] helping shape the mindset of what growth means."

The chief executive said he believes the culture to be "substantially different" already, but he noted that the bank is "capable of delivering more organic growth than we've delivered thus far." The bank saw 1% growth in total revenue year over year in the third quarter, a number with which Scharf said he was "not pleased."

BNY Mellon's total revenue grew to $4.07 billion from $4.02 billion in the year ago period. However, it also posted a 1% year-over-year increase in expenses, excluding litigation costs.

The bank has historically been "too reliant" on the impact of markets, Scharf said. Management's new focus on organic growth "will take time" to show in reported revenue lines, but there "continue to be signs of positive momentum," he added.

Management is focused on changing thinking business-by-business, and it plans to continue to focus on investments in technology in the short term to improve its basic operating infrastructure, Scharf said. In the long term, it plans to build capabilities that allow the bank to become "much more structurally efficient," he added.

"You can't be too inwardly focused in an environment which is changing dramatically around you," Scharf said, adding that hiring people from outside the company should be "a shot in the arm" for the talent already working at the company. "Bringing in people that have been at different companies, that think about the businesses differently, operate with a different sense of urgency than we've operated in the past, have experience at growing businesses — those are all additive to the discussion when you're sitting around the table along with that consistency."