Bank Of America’s (BAC) Ken Lewis: You Can Keep Your Job, But Not Your Salary

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Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) CEO Ken Lewis is still the firm’s CEO. He was going to leave at the end of the year. The board of the bank would like to find a replacement sooner, but they are either indecisive or can’t find a good candidate. Lewis still occupies the corner office.

Lewis, always a good sport, agreed to pay back his salary for 2009 and forego any further pay or bonus for the year, which is at the very least a generous gesture.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the compensation reduction was not entirely Lewis’s idea. The paper writes that “The move was demanded by Kenneth Feinberg, the U.S. Treasury Department’s special master for compensation, and was agreed to by Mr. Lewis and the bank. Mr. Feinberg’s rationale is based largely on the fact that Mr. Lewis will leave the firm with a package of retirement benefits and other stock awards worth between $69.3 million and $120 million.”

That would almost certainly mean that Lewis gets to take an extraordinary sum of money as he leaves B of A without challenge from Feinberg. Lewis claims he saved the bank and, in its hour of need gave the Treasury and Fed help by sticking with his decision to by Merrill Lynch. Without Lewis, the entire credit system could have collapsed.

At least that is the way he sees it.

Douglas A. McIntyre