The Corner Office

The Corner Office: Who Will Succeed Ken Lewis when he retires from Bank of America?

Not long before Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis announced his retirement, we sent writer Michelle Boudin to find out who would take over Lewis’s position if he were to leave BofA. What she found were four serious candidates for the gig. But what’s most interesting is not just who might fill Lewis’s shoes, but will his successor keep BofA based in Charlotte. She spoke with UNCC banking professor Tony Plath. Here, we hedge our bets.

Brian Moynihan

Brian Moynihan

CURRENT JOB
Bank of America promoted the former head of global corporate and investment banking to lead the consumer banking unit on August 3

THE DISH
He’s Plath’s number-one pick to take over for Lewis. "He’s stepped in a variety of roles," says Plath of the former Fleet Bank exec. "He knows the bank from different angles. He’s a team player. He doesn’t complain and he quietly goes about getting his job done." According to The Wall Street Journal, the promotion puts Moynihan in "strong position to compete for Mr. Lewis’ job since this new assignment will give him experience in nearly every part of Bank of America’s business."

BofA STAYS IN CHARLOTTE?
"Moynihan is from Boston. He is working from Boston," says Plath of Moynihan, who joined BofA in 2004 (after the merger with Fleet Bank in Boston) and serves on the board of several Boston charities. Moynihan mostly has career ties to New York and Boston. His only loyalty to Charlotte: Ken Lewis.

ODDS HE’LL GET THE GIG?
2:1

Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck

CURRENT JOB
Recently brought in as BofA’s president of global wealth and investment management

THE DISH
Responsible for $2 trillion in client assets, Krawcheck is the money (wo)man at BofA. Krawcheck is a recent hire for BofA — she left Citibank in 2008 — and for years Fortune, Forbes, and CNBC have called her one of the most powerful businesswomen in the country. Despite her power role at the bank, Plath thinks she’s too new on the Charlotte scene to make a run for Lewis’s gig. "She still has to prove herself. She hasn’t been with the bank long enough," says Plath.

BofA STAYS IN CHARLOTTE?
Krawcheck’s from the South: grew up in Charleston, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, and serves on the school’s board of directors. But she went to grad school at Columbia University and is active in the social scene in NYC, including a slot on the board of directors at Carnegie Hall. It’s a toss up.

ODDS SHE’LL GET THE GIG?
10:1

Thomas Montag

Thomas Montag

CURRENT JOB
Former Merrill exec, recently promoted to president of global banking and markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

THE DISH
The highest-ranking Merrill Lynch official left after the blowup with former ML CEO John Thain. Montag spent twenty-two years with Goldman Sachs before coming to ML, then BofA. "The guys at Merrill are loyal to him, but he’s part of the new tribe," says Plath. "I just don’t know what that means at BofA right now. I don’t think based on what happened at the end of 2008 [the controversy over executive bonuses] they’re ready to put a Merrill guy in the driver’s seat."

BofA STAYS IN CHARLOTTE?
Montag’s BofA bio page clearly states, "He is based in New York" as a member of the executive management team. In other words, don’t look for him to leave Wall Street.

ODDS HE’LL GET THE GIG?
4:1

Barbara Desoer

Barbara Desoer

CURRENT JOB
President of Bank of America Home Loans and Insurance

THE DISH
Forbes just ranked Desoer number twenty-eight on its list of the 100 Most Powerful Women. Plath thinks Desoer has as much of a shot at the job as Moynihan. "She’s loyal, a proven team player, and productive. She’s running the mortgage side, so when they absorbed Countrywide she got that headache. It’s a difficult, high-profile assignment." On her side? She’s female. "Women advance in management at BofA," Plath says.

BofA STAYS IN CHARLOTTE?
Desoer has lived in Charlotte since 2008, when she moved here from California. At least she doesn’t have ties to New York …

ODDS SHE’LL GET THE GIG?
2:1

 

 

 

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