It has been just over a month since longtime Bank of America boss Ken Lewis announced he would be stepping down at the end of the year. By all accounts, the announcement took Bank of America’s board by surprise and the bank has been scrambling to find a replacement. They still don’t have one.
The latest news comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Bank of America has talked a number of times with the chief of Bank of New York. But BoNY chief Robert Kelly doesn’t want to run the TARPed up catastrophe.
Kelly was the chief financial officer of Wachovia for five years, which gives him connections to Bank of America’s hometown, Charlotte, North Carolina. But he “has shown no interest in the job,” the WSJ reports, citing a person familiar with his thinking. (Note: that’s probably code for Kelly himself or one of his closest advisers.)
So what does this mean for Bank of America? The Journal says it means the bank is open to hiring an outsider.
From the WSJ:
The CEO has been approached more than once about being a potential successor to Kenneth D. Lewis, 62 years old, who is set to retire at year end. The feelers reflect growing interest in outside candidates by Bank of America directors.
Some shareholders, regulators and directors are pushing the board’s search committee to look hard at external candidates, arguing that the best choice as CEO would be someone with no connection to the problems dogging the bank.
But directors have encountered obstacles as some potential candidates fall short of the board’s hopes or aren’t interested in Bank of America’s top job, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Notice, however, that Kelly isn’t that much of an outsider. He may not have risen inside of Bank of America or one of its acquired companies but he is tied in with Charlotte. It’s still an open question whether the North Carolina crowd would permit a true outsider to run Bank of America.