Chillin' out till it needs to be funded
Bank of America named four new directors on Friday as part of a shake-up designed to infuse the board with more financial services expertise.
The new directors are Susan Bies, a former member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors; William Boardman, retired executive of Bank One and Visa International; D. Paul Jones, former chairman and chief executive of Compass Bancshares; and Donald Powell, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chairman.
Temple Sloan, a long-time director, stepped down from the board last week, and Robert Tillman, former chief executive of Lowe’s, revealed his retirement on Thursday. Two more BofA directors are expected to announce their resignations as early as Monday. BofA would not disclose their identities. BofA’s 18-member board has come under pressure as details about the bank’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch, championed by chief executive Ken Lewis, have emerged.
New York’s attorney-general revealed that Mr Lewis tried to back out of the deal in December because of Merrill’s mounting losses. The deal closed only after federal regulators, led by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, supposedly threatened to remove Mr Lewis and his board if BofA didn’t go ahead with the transaction.
Those disclosures helped undermine investor support for Mr Lewis, who was stripped of his chairman title at BofA’s annual meeting in April. The new board chair, Walter Massey – president emeritus of Morehouse College – began a search for new board members. BofA said on Thursday that Amy Brinkley, chief risk officer, would step down at the end of June to be replaced by Greg Curl, head of strategy and corporate development.
As chief risk officer, Ms Brinkley presided over growing losses at the bank’s credit card business and in BofA’s portfolio of collateralised debt obligations. Still, Mr Lewis’ decision to replace Ms Brinkley, a friend and stalwart supporter over several decades, came as a shock to people familiar with the pair. Ms Brinkley and her husband were among the few couples who would occasionally be invited to dinner at Mr Lewis’ home in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Mr Lewis, is scheduled to appear before the House committee on oversight and government reform on Thursday to discuss the events surrounding BofA’s acquisition of Merrill.