Amid turmoil at BofA, potential Lewis successor leaves

Charlotte ObserverAugust 3, 2009 

In a dramatic management shake-up, Bank of America announced Monday that consumer banking head Liam McGee, once seen as a potential successor to chief executive Ken Lewis, is leaving the company after 20 years.

The Charlotte bank, which is under pressure from regulators to bolster its executive ranks, has also hired former Citigroup executive Sallie Krawcheck to run its global wealth and investment management unit. She takes over territory held by Brian Moynihan, who will now run consumer banking.

In other changes, Tom Montag, who joined the bank from Merrill Lynch, will run Global Corporate and Investment Banking, an area once overseen by Moynihan. In addition, David Darnell, who runs commercial banking, will now report directly to Lewis.

The moves come as the bank faces pressure to establish a succession plan for Lewis, 62, who has come under fire for his handling of the bank's Merrill Lynch & Co. acquisition. The Securities and Exchange Commission Monday said the bank had reached a $33 million settlement over charges that it misled investors about year-end bonuses Merrill paid. The bank did not admit or deny wrongdoing.

Lewis has said he wants to stay at least until the bank pays back government loans, and a person familiar with the matter said Lewis' departure is probably a couple of years away. But speculation remains strong inside and outside the bank that he may not last until year's end, particularly with another contentious shareholder meeting likely next spring.

In a statement Lewis said the moves were made in response to a changing economic and business climate. He said the changes "position a number of senior executives to compete to succeed me at the appropriate time."

Read more at CharlotteObserver.com

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