Bank of America Corp's board of directors is looking at hiring a short-term chief executive from outside the bank to give internal candidates more time to develop, a company spokesman said Thursday.

The board would not rule out appointing one of the current six internal candidates to the top job on that interim basis, spokesman Bob Stickler said.

The recently reconstructed board is considering such a move as an alternative to naming a permanent successor to CEO Kenneth Lewis.

Bank of America's board will form its nominating committee that will steer the process by Friday, and has not yet retained an executive search firm, Stickler said.

The interim executive could replace Lewis for up to two years to allow the board and the current slate of internal candidates more time to familiarize themselves with one another, Stickler said.

After that period, a full-time replacement from the internal slate of candidates would be selected.

Those candidates include: wealth management head Sallie Krawcheck, consumer banking chief Brian Moynihan, Chief Financial Officer Joe Price, investment bank chief Thomas Montag, mortgage head Barbara Desoer and chief risk officer Greg Curl.

Stickler said hiring a short-term CEO is a function of both the new board and new management team, and the company directors wanting to be deliberate in their selection.

Lewis said on Wednesday he was resigning at the end of the year in a move that blindsided the bank's directors.

The bank is hoping to avoid the situation that Citigroup Inc faced in late 2007, when its chief executive, Chuck Prince, stepped down, and finding a replacement took several months, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Bank of America shares closed Thursday down 4.2 percent at $16.21 on the New York Stock Exchange

(Reporting by Joe Rauch and Dan Wilchins; Editing Bernard Orr)