Bank of America/Merrill Lynch has appointed former top Goldman Sachs JB Were executive Craig Drummond to head its Australian operations, a top official said on Tuesday.

Drummond will replace Paul Masi as country executive, effective early October, Merrill Lynch president, Asia Pacific, Brian Brille said in an internal memo on Tuesday.

Drummond spent 23 years at GSJBWere, most recently as executive chairman and co-chief executive officer. He has been on gardening leave since leaving earlier this year.

Craig will be responsible for building a market-leading operation in Australia, overseeing the strategy and direction, and working across all the businesses to implement integrated, client-focused solutions, said Brille.

He said Masi had decided to take a break from the business after nine years for personal reasons.

Merrill Lynch told Reuters earlier this month it plans to add more senior investment bankers in Australia to beef up its corporate advisory business, after boosting its staff by about 25 percent this year.

(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Michael Urquhart)