Bank of America Corp's corporate and investment banking unit has hired Ethan Harris as head of North America economics and David Bianco as head of U.S. equity strategy, two of the highest-profile appointments since the acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.

Harris joins Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch Research from Barclays Plc's Barclays Capital unit, where along with Dean Maki he was chief U.S. economist and head of U.S. economic research. Maki will retain those roles, Barclays said in a separate statement.

Harris had since 2003 been chief U.S. economist at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc before that company went bankrupt and Barclays bought some of its operations. Before joining Lehman in 1996, Harris worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and at JPMorgan .

Bianco joins from UBS AG , where he had been chief U.S. equity portfolio strategist and head of U.S. valuation and accounting research. Before joining UBS, he worked at Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse First Boston .

Harris will join Bank of America in September, and Bianco in July. Both will report to Adam Quinton, head of global macro research. Reuters had reported Harris' hiring.

The hirings come as Bank of America integrates Merrill Lynch, which it acquired on January 1. Several top executives had since left, including chief North American economist David Rosenberg, who departed in March for Canadian wealth management company Gluskin Sheff & Associates Inc .

On May 11, Kenneth Lewis, Bank of America's chief executive, said on a conference call that we have lost some people that we did not want to lose at Merrill. On the other hand, business is really good.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)