Wachovia Corp. on Wednesday evening named U.S. Treasury Department official Robert Steel its new chief executive officer, effective immediately, ending a six-week search and easing some of the uncertainty surrounding the struggling Charlotte bank.
Interim CEO Lanty Smith, who led the search, will keep his chairman title. All business and staff units will report to Steel, who brings strong N.C. ties, Washington experience and a Wall Street pedigree to the post.
The appointment puts an outsider at the helm of a major Charlotte employer and civic institution that has historically promoted home-grown executives to the corner office. Steel replaces Ken Thompson, a company lifer who was ousted June 1 as Wachovia faced mounting losses from its troubled 2006 acquisition of mortgage specialist Golden West Financia
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