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Merrill Lynch today announced that Jacob A. Frenkel, the outgoing Governor of the Bank of Israel, is to join the firm as Chairman of the Sovereign Advisory Group and as Chairman of the Global Financial Institutions Group. The appointment is effective immediately.

Frenkel will lead Merrill Lynch's efforts to develop its global business strategies with sovereign governmental entities, with multilateral financial institutions and with banks and other financial institutions. He will work to develop and enhance the firm's relationships across the global investment banking, debt and equity businesses. Frenkel will have global responsibilities but will focus on Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

"Jacob Frenkel has had an exceptionally distinguished career as an internationally prominent academic, a leading figure in the IMF, as well as a visionary and highly successful policy maker," said Merrill Lynch Chairman & CEO David H. Komansky. "As Governor of the Bank of Israel he is credited with liberalizing Israel's financial markets, removing foreign exchange controls and reducing inflation to the levels prevailing in advanced economies. His sophistication and his vast experience dealing with issues in the global marketplace as well as dealing with governments and financial institutions will be of great value in helping us to shape our global business strategies and enhance our client relationships."

Frenkel will also become a member of Merrill Lynch's Executive Committee for Europe, Middle East and Africa (MLEMEA), headed by Michael Marks, Executive Chairman for MLEMEA, and a member of Merrill Lynch's Executive Committee for Latin America, headed by Rick Fuscone, Executive Chairman for Latin America and Chief Operating Officer for the firm's Corporate & Institutional Client Group.

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Born in Israel, Frenkel earned a B.A. from the Hebrew University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. He was on the faculty of the University of Chicago from 1973 to 1987 where he served as the David Rockefeller Professor of International Economics and as Editor of the Journal of Political Economy. From 1987 to 1991, he served as the Economic Counselor and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund. In 1991, he was appointed Governor of the Bank of Israel and was reappointed to a second term in 1996. During his tenure, he served with Israeli Prime Ministers Shamir, Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu and Barak. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Frenkel currently serves as Chairman and CEO of the Group of Thirty. He is also the recipient of distinctions and decorations from governments and institutions, and has been awarded several honorary doctoral degrees and prizes from universities.

"We see enormous opportunities for Merrill Lynch in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, and we will greatly benefit from Jacob Frenkel's broad experience in academia, central banking, and international finance, as well as from the key roles he has played with the IMF, the EBRD and the IDB," said Marks and Fuscone.