Bank of America’s general counsel was fired on December 10, just a day after he had requested a meeting with higher-ups to discuss Merrill Lynch’s growing projected losses.
The reason he was fired? Corporate “downsizing,” said three BofA officials to a congressional panel yesterday.
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is looking into BofA’s purchase of Merrill, as it related to federal bailout money.
The congressional panel was not impressed with the officials’ assertion that the firing of GC Tim Mayopoulos was just a normal staff cut, Corporate Counsel reported.
Various panel members called it “very curious” and “troubling” and chairman Edolphus Towns said, “It sounds like someone didnt’ like his legal advice.”
Mayopolous maintains he does not know why he was fired. When he was told of the termination, it took effect immediately.
Corporate downsizings of prominent company people usually come with with some cushion time. One might expect similar treatment of Mayopolous, who, all three BofA officers testified, is a good lawyer and did good work during his five years at BofA.
Mayopolous was replaced by Brian Moynihan, who served as general counsel for 44 days. Moynihan testified yesterday and told the committee that he did not know why Mayopolous was fired, the ABA Journal said. Moynihan told the committee he assumed it was part of a 10 per cent cut in executive staff but that he never actually asked why Mayopolous was being fired.
He did say, however, that he had not been pleased with the position offered to him post-merger, and on December 9 — the day before Mayopolous was fired — Ken Lewis announced Moynihan was going to leave the bank.
BofA director Tom May told the committee that he supported the decision to fire Mayopolous “because Mr. Lewis wanted it, [and because] Moynihan was a more critical member of the management team.”
Corporate Counsel has full coverage of the testimony and the firing here.
Pictured are, from left, Mayopoulos, Moynihan, Bank of America president of consumer and small business banking, Charles “Chad” Gifford and May.
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