Bank of America’s (BAC) board will meet this week to pick an “emergency” CEO in case legal troubles force Ken Lewis to step down before the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Supposedly, work on this “contingency plan” started when various legal complaints starting piling up against Lewis, prior to his announcing his resignation.
But every sign out of the bank suggests the board has been snoozing. It’s obvious they’ve underemphasized succession at the bank, as evidenced by the fact that they may appoint an short-term, 2-year CEO while they figure out who’s best to lead the bank for the long term. And now there’s this.
The process is being led by a five-person board committee formed earlier this year to respond to concerns raised by U.S. banking regulators, this person said. Led by Bank of America Chairman Walter Massey, the committee plans to submit its choice to the full board for approval. Regulators will be asked to sign off on the choice, according to the person familiar with the matter, and then the plan will be shelved until needed.
A separate Bank of America board committee formed on Friday is sifting through possible successors for Mr. Lewis, with the change to occur at year end. A decision is expected by the end of October, and a narrowed list of candidates will be presented to the U.S. government for review, said someone familiar with the process.