The man apparently couldn’t take it anymore. I suppose he realized that keeping his position while having been, being, and will continuously be under fire for this Merrill deal, which initially saw him hailed by the public as a hero, is no longer worth it . I mean sure, the ongoing BofA-Merrill investigation’s been a real source of entertainment for us outsiders, but it sure obviously wasn’t for the firm and for him most especially. Stepping aside from the spotlight is perhaps the best thing to do.
After fighting to keep his grip on the bank he helped build from a scrappy Southern outsider to the nation’s largest in assets, Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Kenneth D. Lewis said he will resign by year end.
The 62-year-old Mr. Lewis, who has led the Charlotte, N.C., bank since 2001, notified the board of his decision Wednesday. A person close to him says Mr. Lewis was fed up with the criticism that haunted him following the takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co. The board had told Mr. Lewis it wanted to know how long he planned to stay. He indicated that he would stay through 2010, this person said, but he changed his mind during a vacation to Aspen, Colo., in late August. One sign to company insiders that something was up: Mr. Lewis returned to work after Labor Day in a full beard, which no one at the bank had ever seen before. He shaved it off after one day.
The report also said the firm is seriously considering bringing someone from outside the firm to replace Lewis.