The CEO of Bank of America Corp., Kenneth Lewis said on Friday the bank is able to raise the required capital to meet the requirements of the stress tests and that he plans to stay with the bank until the needs are met.
The easy way out would just be to walk out now and let somebody else have this problem, but I owe it to my teammates to see us through this, Lewis said at an interview with CNBC.
Lewis said he understood shareholder concerns but did not provide a specific timetable for when he will step down. He indicated a departure of sometime between approximately three months from when the stress test needs are met and three years until he reaches 65, the average age for BofA CEOs to step down.
Lewis and his board received sharp criticism from shareholders at the bank’s annual shareholders’ meeting last month for not disclosing the losses of nearly $15.8 billion in Merrill Lynch & Co. before the Dec. 5 vote on the merger.
Earlier in February, Lewis told investigators for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that he was pressured in December by Ben Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to complete the acquisition for the struggling brokerage firm.
Bank of America’s improved performance means Lewis’s job as CEO is safe, said Tom Brown, chief executive of Second Curve Capital in New York, during a Bloomberg TV interview today.
“Ken Lewis will be there for the next couple years, the bank will recover and then he will retire”, Brown added.