Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis to Step Down at End of 2009

September 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Industry News 

No surprise on this announcement.  Currently, two lawsuits have been filed against the national bank for the Merrill Lynch acquisition that included bonuses that have been alleged to “not” have been disclosed properly to shareholders and possibly, bank regulators.  Ken Lewis has really been in the hot seat since this whole financial crisis began, starting with their purchase of troubled home mortgage lender Countrywide.

It is my opinion we will see more shakeouts of top management at more banks as these deals and losses get more focus and the facts come to light.  Maybe this will be the first step for Bank of America to move forward and get back to prudent banking practices.

Bloomberg, New York – Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis, his credibility battered by the Merrill Lynch & Co. takeover, plans to step down at the end of this year.  No successor was named for Lewis, who will also retire as a director, according to a statement today from Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender by assets and deposits. The resignation ends Lewis’s 40-year career at the Charlotte, North Carolina- based company, including the last eight as CEO.

“The board has a pool of candidates and they are going to go through a deliberative process to have a successor in place before Mr. Lewis retires,” spokesman Robert Stickler said in a telephone interview.

Lewis, 62, oversaw more than $130 billion in acquisitions, including the takeover of Merrill Lynch in January. Lewis completed that deal only after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson rebuffed his effort to pull out, leading to probes of the deal by Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission and New York’s attorney general.

Shareholders stripped Lewis of the chairman’s title earlier this year, with dissidents saying he failed to tell them about spiraling losses at Merrill Lynch and bonus payments at the New York-based firm before they voted on the merger. A federal judge this month rejected a $33 million settlement between the bank and the SEC tied to the bonuses, asking whether the bank had lied to shareholders and why the company’s executives haven’t been sued.

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