BNY Mellon's Chairman and CEO Kelly speaks at the Global Financial Forum in New York
BNY Mellon's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Kelly was fired for an abusive management style, according to CNBC. REUTERS

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. chief executive Robert Kelly was fired for an abrasive management style, according to a CNBC report.

Bank of New York announced Kelly's departure on Wednesday citing differences in management approach. That difference in management approach, according to CNBC, is that the bank could no longer take Kelly's abrasive nature.

"The story is unusual because there really isn't much more than meets the eye," said one person who spoke with CNBC. "His style was creating problems within the organization."

The bank announced the move as a mutual decision, but CNBC's source indicated that the move caught Kelly off-guard. A group of independent directors had met in small groups for a couple of weeks planning out how to proceed with Kelly.

The group ended up putting together a meeting to announce the company's decision -- keeping Kelly and new CEO Gerald Hassell in the dark the whole time.

Kelly, who earned $19.4 million as CEO in 2010, had no defenders on the board for his style, according to the report. There was some discussion over whether the board could ask Kelly to refine his management style, but that was decided against doing.

The company has tapped president Gerald Hassell as its new CEO, a move that is "seen as a morale booster." CNBC's source described Hassell's management style as "very different from Kelly's."

Part of the reasoning, according to The Wall Street Journal, was that the company was afraid of "losing highly valued employees" due to Kelly. The report went on to say that Kelly had alienated multiple board members and top executives by "blaming some company problems on other members of senior management."

Kelly has helmed the company since 2007 when Bank of New York and Mellon Financial merged. Kelly is known for his considerable banking talent, but his management style proved to be too much for the company to handle.

Kelly was at one point the top candidate to replace Ken Lewis as CEO of Bank of America, but the company allegedly balked at his request for $20 million a year in compensation.

Bank of New York Mellon was trading up 2.9 percent, or 60 cents, to $21.27 during Thursday morning trading.