Bank of America'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, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The short-term CEO would keep the job for about two years, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the board's deliberations. After that time, an internal candidate could step into the CEO role, the newspaper said.

Current chief executive, Kenneth Lewis, said on Wednesday he was resigning at the end of the year, in a move that according to the newspaper blindsided the bank's directors.

No decision has been made, and the bank's board is still looking at replacement candidates, the Wall Street Journal reported.

But the hiring process is in early stages, because the board had so little notice that Lewis was stepping down, the newspaper said.

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.

(Reporting by Dan Wilchins; Editing Bernard Orr)