Bank of America may choose to name a senior board member as interim chief executive to succeed Ken Lewis, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the bank has narrowed the short list of internal candidates down to Chief Risk Officer Greg Curl and Brian Moynihan, who was named head of consumer and small-business banking a little more than a month ago. Senior Wall Street executives say they expect the choice will ultimately come down to these two but a board member may be put in place until a final decision is made.
Charles Gifford, the former head of Fleet Boston and now a board member of Bank of America, is one of the likely candidates for the interim position. Tom May, who runs Nstarr, is the other leading candidate from teh board.
Another possibility is that Curl, 61, will be appointed CEO under the understanding that he will step aside in a couple of years to allow the younger Moyniha, who is 49, to take over.
The bank hasn’t ruled out hiring an outside candidate.The Journal reported this morning that the top outsider under consideration is Greg Fleming, the former president of Merrill Lynch who is now teaching at Yale Law school. But a person familiar with the matter says that while Fleming is under consideration by the board he hasn’t been pushing for the job and is still reviewing possible options for returning to Wall Street.
Be wary of press reports about the state of Bank of America’s CEO search. A turf battle between the Fleet Boston people and Charlotte, North Carolina people is still being waged, and both sides are looking for journalists to spread their side of the story.