CHARLOTTE - Ken Lewis was ousted as chairman of Bank of America Corp. yesterday after shareholders angry about the company's acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. voted to separate the job from that of chief executive.
Mr. Lewis will remain CEO of the bank, but board member Walter E. Massey, president emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, will become company chairman.
Shareholders narrowly voted at the bank's annual meeting to split the jobs after months of rancor over the Merrill Lynch acquisition. After the deal was sealed Jan. 1, Merrill Lynch reported $15 billion in fourth-quarter losses and it was learned that Bank of America had approved the early payout of billions of dollars in bonuses to Merrill Lynch employees.
Mr. Lewis was chairman and CEO since 2001.
The proposal to separate the chairman and CEO jobs passed 50.34 percent to 49.66 percent.
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