Some shareholders aren’t thrilled with the choice of Walter Massey to replace Ken Lewis as chairman of Bank of America, reports the Charlotte Observer.
Oh sure, angry shareholders wanted Lewis gone. But they have no confidence that Massey, the 71-year-old president emeritus of Morehouse College, will bring real change. He has been a BofA board member for 11 years.
“It’s enough inside baseball that there doesn’t appear to be anything substantive about this move,” Michael Farr, president of the Farr, Miller & Washington investment firm in Washington, D.C., was quoted in the Observer as saying.
Shareholders grew increasingly frustrated as Lewis orchestrated risky mergers, slashed the company’s dividend and watched its share price plummet, and they blame the board for not exercising more oversight.
In today’s Observer, James Cox, a professor of corporate and securities law at Duke, called Massey “a curious choice.”
“When I saw that, I thought, ‘Huh, that’s kind of out of the pan into the fire,’” he said. “There’s plenty of able, retired banking executives around.”
A physicist and mathematician by training, Massey also is a longtime board member of McDonald’s and has served on the boards of Delta, Motorola and BP. He was a scientific advisor to President George W. Bush’s administration.
A bank spokesman told the Observer that Massey will talk frequently to Lewis, have an office in the bank’s headquarters (though not on the same floor as Lewis), have administrative support and make $500,000 a year in total compensation.
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