BofA board forms CEO search committee

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 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. 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. Lewis served as chairman and CEO since 2001.

Other members include Charles Gifford, Thomas May, Thomas Ryan, Donald Powell, and Charles Holliday. The committee briefly met after a regular bank board meeting Friday.

Stickler said the committee recognizes the “need for speed in the process,” but also wants to find the right replacement. At this time, the committee has not retained a search firm, Stickler said.

“(The committee) will start their work in earnest next week,” he said.

Lewis is stepping down from Charlotte, N.C.-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 has received $45 billion in TARP money, including $20 billion to help offset Merrill’s losses.

Shares of Bank of America rose 23 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $16.44 in afternoon trading.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.