Not exactly a surprise: Bank of America shareholders have stripped him of his chairmanship. I don't find it hard to believe that Ken Lewis genuinely believed that he was singlehandedly saving the US financial system--though it is also true that he probably couldn't have gotten out of the merger agreement by the time he (and Merrill) knew about the losses, even if he wanted to. But that doesn't really matter. If my husband sacrificed our child to save thousands of people, I might recognize, at some abstract level, that he had done the right thing. But we wouldn't stay married.
Right now, Ken Lewis remains CEO--the board expressed unanimous support. But at this point, it seems likely that it's only a matter of time. (If it isn't, it will become a famous business school case on the Principal-Agent problem.)
It's hard to imagine that it wasn't long ago that Ken Lewis was the guy who was celebrated for transforming BofA into the 800 pound gorilla in the banking market. Every time I read one of those glossy CEO profiles, I remember how many of them end this way.
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