CEO candidates recommend changes at BofA

Dec. 2, 2009 at 1:03 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Applicants for the top job at Bank of America, the largest U.S. bank, have recommended paring down the bank's size, sources close to the executive search said.

Sources said that Michael O'Neill, a director at Citigroup Inc. and former chief executive officer of Bank of Hawaii Corp., recommended the board of directors study options for breaking up the bank, an idea that clashed with the strategy preferred by some search committee members, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

An unnamed candidate to succeed retiring Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis said the bank should reconsider its business plan, given the likelihood that regulatory reform would impose new restrictions on banks, such as increased capital reserve requirements, the Journal said.

Lewis announced his retirement in September after months of controversy surrounding the bank's purchase of Merrill Lynch in January.

Investigators, including Congress, New York State and the Securities and Exchange Commission have questioned whether shareholders were given complete information on Merrill Lynch's losses and its bonus pay plans before voting to approve the takeover.

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