Investor wants BofA chairman ousted over Merrill deal

Charlotte ObserverMarch 25, 2009 

A Bank of America Corp. investor urged a shakeup of the Charlotte bank's board in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Monday.

Finger Interests Number One Ltd. earlier this month announced an effort to vote out three directors at this April's annual meeting: chief executive Ken Lewis, lead director Temple Sloan and asset quality committee chair Jackie Ward. The firm, which owns about 1.1 million Bank of America shares, also wants to split the CEO and chairman titles held by Lewis.

In the "notice of exempt solicitation" filing, Finger Interests said it's using mail, e-mail, Web site and telephone communication to persuade voters to join its cause. Its Web site is

“We're seeing some success,” said Jon Finger, a partner at the firm with his father, Jerry. But he added: “It's too early to tell.”

In the filing, Finger Interests contends Bank of America management and its board “acted recklessly and without regard for shareholders” in agreeing to buy Merrill Lynch & Co. last fall after 48 hours of due diligence. Management and the board also withheld material information about Merrill's deteriorating financial condition during the fourth quarter of last year, the firm said. Finger Interests has filed one of nearly two dozen shareholder lawsuits related to the acquisition.

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