- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 3, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) | Bank of America Corp. said Friday it created a six-member committee of directors to find a successor for CEO Ken Lewis.

The move comes two days after the bank said Mr. Lewis plans to retire at the end of the year.

The committee is being led by Bank of America Chairman Walter Massey, spokesman Bob Stickler confirmed. Mr. Massey took over as chairman earlier this year after shareholders voted at the bank’s annual meeting to split the chairman and CEO positions at the bank. Mr. Lewis served as chairman and CEO since 2001.

Other members include Charles Gifford, Thomas May, Thomas Ryan, Donald Powell and Charles Holliday.

Mr. Stickler said the committee recognizes the “need for speed in the process,” but also wants to find the right replacement.

Mr. Lewis is stepping down from Charlotte-based Bank of America after almost a year of strife that followed its purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. Bank of America has been accused of failing to properly tell shareholders about losses at Merrill and bonuses given employees of the investment bank before the deal closed Jan. 1.

The bank is under scrutiny because it received $45 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program last fall, including $20 billion to help offset Merrill’s losses.

On Friday, the bank’s board authorized a $713 million dividend payment on preferred stock issued to the Treasury Department as part of the TARP program.

The bank will pay the $713 million in dividends on Nov. 16.

Bank of America has already paid the government $1.83 billion in TARP dividends through the end of September.

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