The surprise ouster of chief executive Ken Thompson left Wachovia, a Charlotte business and civic anchor, searching for a new leader on Monday and facing questions about its future, including the possibility of a takeover.
The Charlotte bank said Thompson retired as CEO at the request of the board, ending a more than three-decade career at the company. Stripped of his chairman title less than a month ago, he had been increasingly beset by investor unrest and mounting losses from his troubled Golden West Financial acquisition.
Analysts speculated that more bad news could emerge from a bank that suffered a first-quarter loss and a recent series of embarrassing miscues. Uncertainty about the bank's leadership also raised the possibility that a rival, particularly New York's JPMorgan Chase, could pounce, but analysts differed on the likelihood of a buyout.
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