BofA's Ken Lewis faces growing pressure over deals

Charlotte ObserverJanuary 19, 2009 

Did Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis do one deal too many?

In September, he won accolades for rescuing Wall Street giant Merrill Lynch from the brink of collapse. Four months later, Bank of America is getting its own lifeline from the U.S. government to help shoulder Merrill's mounting losses.

That's left analysts questioning Lewis' deal making skills, and shareholders venting over the Charlotte bank's faltering stock price and vanishing dividend.

Some employees and investors are calling for Lewis' job. Analysts say it's possible he could be forced out, but many suspect he'll get a chance to turn the bank around in light of historic economic conditions and government pressure to complete the $29 billion deal.

“This has definitely hurt his credibility – there's no doubt about that,” said James Early, an analyst at The Motley Fool. “Given the environment, though, he may have a little more time to prove himself, to sort of re-ingratiate himself with the board and investors.”

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