New York: Merrill Lynch, one of the world's largest financial institutions, has named former Nabisco Holdings Group executive Jason H. Wright to head its communications, ending a search which lasted for nearly seven months.
Wright, 42, will replace Paul Critchlow, outgoing SVP of communications and public affairs, effective September 3.
Critchlow, 56, is one of the longest-serving PR chiefs on Wall Street. He will now transition into the role of counselor to the chairman and vice chairman, public market, where he will try to help the firm win new business from state and local government clients. Critchlow has headed the firm's communications for nearly 15 years.
As head of global communications, which counts over 100 staff members, Wright will have global responsibility for all of Merrill's external and internal communications. He will report directly to chairman and CEO Stan O'Neal and serve on Merrill's operating committee.
Although there were originally more than 30 candidates for the post, only about seven met personally with O'Neal before a decision was made.
In addition to his position at Nabisco, Wright had previously headed communications at one of that company's earlier incarnations, RJR Nabisco. In that post, he oversaw communications leading up to the June 1999 corporate spin-off, which separated the Nabisco food business and tobacco-maker R.J. Reynolds, making them unrelated companies.
Since the sale of Nabisco and RJR Nabisco in 2000, Wright has been principal at investment advisory firm, Geer Mountain Holdings, LLC.