BofA board meets, new CEO decision looms

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2009 5:17 PM

Bank of America's board is meeting Tuesday to discuss potential replacements for CEO Ken Lewis who has said he plans to leave by the end of the year.

It is unclear whether the board, which is meeting in Charlotte, N.C., has a specific candidate in mind or if any announcement will come following the meeting.

Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said Tuesday a decision will be made "in the near future."

Bank of America has been searching for a new CEO since it announced in late September that Lewis planned to retire Dec. 31. Lewis is leaving amid controversy surrounding the bank's purchase of Merrill Lynch earlier this year. Shareholders stripped him of his chairman title in April and top executives have since left under his tenure.

Last week, the bank announced plans to repay its $45 billion government bailout. The move would free the bank from the government restrictions that hampered its search for a new CEO, including executive pay limitations.

The board is continuing to consider external candidates, the bank said.

Two internal candidates, Chief Risk Officer Gregory Curl and Brian Moynihan, the head of consumer banking, are also being considered by the bank as Lewis' replacements. However, both men have been criticized by analysts as lacking experience or being too close to the Merrill deal.

Curl, who helped negotiate the bank's $45 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program aid repayment, is also under scrutiny by New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo's office in connection with the probe of the bank's deal for Merrill Lynch, according to a report Tuesday in The New York Times.

Earlier this year Curl testified with Cuomo's office regarding the deal.

"We are confident in the consistency and truthfulness of the Bank of America testimony throughout the investigation," Bank of America spokesman Larry Di Rita said.

Bank of America shares fell 48 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $15.41 Tuesday.