The new director in charge of the legacy asset servicing at Bank of America (BAC) isn't new to the banking giant. Ron Sturzenegger joined BofA in 1998 as managing director of the real estate and lodging mergers and acquisitions department. In 2001, he moved to the head spot, where he was responsible for handling investment banking in real estate investment trusts, lodging and leisure, and homebuilding sectors. The BofA Merrill Lynch real estate, gaming and lodging business has been rated No. 1 for the last three years and took the top ranking globally over the last year. Before joining BofA, Sturzenegger was at Western Region Real Estate Investment Banking in 1995. Before that he headed up European real estate investment banking at Morgan Stanley (MS). Now, the investment banker inherits one of the most daunting challenges in the industry: BofA's legacy mortgage portfolio. When BofA opened the department in February, roughly $1 trillion worth of delinquent or discontinued mortgage products became a priority. Many of the loans transferred from Countrywide Financial Corp. The department's original head, Terry Laughlin, said the bank would work through the delinquencies, investigations, representation and warranty claims and other mortgage-related issues within three years. Laughlin left the department last week to become the chief risk officer of the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking giant. BofA Chief Executive Brian Moynihan believes Sturzenegger can handle the challenge despite never holding an executive role at the top of a servicing shop. But, the BofA division is already rolling, and it seems Sturzenegger will just have to hold the course. "Ron is a proven leader who brings deep credibility and expertise in real estate to the Legacy Asset Servicing team, and I welcome him to the management team," Moynihan said. "Ron benefits from the great momentum the Legacy Asset Servicing team has created in the past year, and I am confident he and the team will build on that as we put these issues behind us." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.