John Utendahl: A Successful Investment Banker and Business Leader

Early Life and Education

John Utendahl was born on June 19, 1957, in Queens, New York City, USA. He is the son of a Jamaican immigrant father and an African American mother. He grew up in a modest and diverse neighborhood, where he developed an interest in business and finance from a young age

Utendahl attended Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1979. He then pursued an MBA from Columbia University, graduating in 1982. He was one of the few African American students in his class, and he faced some challenges and discrimination in his academic and professional journey

Career and Achievements

After completing his MBA, Utendahl joined Salomon Brothers, a prestigious investment bank, where he worked as a bond trader and rose to become a vice president. He later moved to Merrill Lynch, where he became the head of the fixed income department. He was responsible for managing billions of dollars of assets and overseeing hundreds of employees. He was one of the highest-paid and most influential African American executives on Wall Street

In 1992, Utendahl decided to start his own firm, the Utendahl Group, with the aim of providing investment banking services to minority-owned and -operated businesses. He also wanted to create more opportunities for people of color in the financial industry. He used his connections and reputation to attract clients and investors, and he built a team of talented and diverse professionals. The Utendahl Group became one of the largest and most successful African American-owned investment banking groups in the United States, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. The firm offered services such as corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, equity underwriting, asset management, and private equity. Some of its notable clients included AT&T, Coca-Cola, General Motors, IBM, McDonald’s, Verizon, and Walt Disney

In 2010, Utendahl sold his firm to Williams Capital Group, another minority-owned investment bank. He then joined Deutsche Bank Americas as the Vice Chairman, where he was responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with key clients across various sectors and regions. He also served as a senior advisor to the bank’s senior management on strategic issues and initiatives. In 2016, Utendahl left Deutsche Bank to join Bank of America as the Executive Vice Chairman of Global Corporate and Investment Banking. In this role, he continued to leverage his extensive network and expertise to support the bank’s growth and performance. In 2022, Utendahl became the Global Chairman of Bank of America, making him one of the most powerful and respected leaders in the global financial industry

Personal Life and Philanthropy

Utendahl has been married twice in his life. His first marriage was to Phyllis Hollis, a former model and actress, with whom he had two daughters: Lauren and Asia. They divorced in 1999 after 17 years of marriage. His second marriage was to Tyra Banks, a famous model and media personality, whom he dated from 2007 to 2011. They never had any children together. Utendahl is currently single and lives in New York City

Utendahl is also involved in various philanthropic and civic activities. He is a board member of several organizations, such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, the New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the Columbia Business School Board of Overseers. He also supports causes such as education, health care, arts and culture, social justice, and economic empowerment for underprivileged communities. He has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to society, such as the NAACP Image Award, the National Urban League Award, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Award, and the Long Island University Distinguished Alumni Award


John Utendahl is a remarkable example of a successful investment banker and business leader who has overcome many obstacles and achieved great heights in his career. He is also a generous and compassionate person who has given back to his community and society at large. He is an inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals who want to make a positive difference in the world.

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