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BofA Having Trouble Finding CEO Due To Charlotte's Provincial Image

Tyler Durden's picture


It turns out that the main reason why Bank of America is unable to find someone willing to jump into Ken Lewis' hot shoes has nothing to do with BofA toxic balance sheet and everything to do with proximity to Carnegie Hall, the Lower East Side and any of a plethora of Daniel Boulud restaurants. Bloomberg reports that as BAC continues its search for a CEO replacement it is now willing to let the fall guy's replacement be domiciled out of New York. Whether that means that the Charlotte, NC-based firm is looking to relocate entirely to the Big Apple, and whether Mel Watt is aware that he no longer needs to be the lap dog of the firm's soon to no longer be landed interests, is yet to be determined.

Bloomberg reports:

Bank of America Corp. broadened its
search for a chief executive officer to include candidates who
want to live in New York, acknowledging the bank’s biggest units
are no longer based in its home of Charlotte, North Carolina,
people familiar with the matter said.

The board, led by Chairman Walter Massey, is also concerned
there may not be a deep enough pool of qualified candidates
willing to move to Charlotte, 330 miles south of Washington, the
people said, speaking anonymously because the search is private.
CEO Kenneth Lewis, who is stepping down at year’s end, has said
Charlotte will remain headquarters as long as he’s in charge.

As to what the current CEO replacement picture looks like, it appears there is still no definitive replacement for the corner office:

The leading internal CEO candidates are Chief Risk Officer
Gregory Curl, 61, who lives in Charlotte, and consumer-banking
chief Brian Moynihan, who almost left the bank last year after
he declined to take a new post in Wilmington, Delaware,
according to a person familiar with the situation. Moynihan, 50,
lives in Boston, where he worked for FleetBoston Financial Corp.
until Lewis bought the lender in 2004.

While New York City will likely be very happy to see BofAMLCFC move its HQ to its eco-friendly building on 42nd Street, as it struggles to refill its tax coffers courtesy of staggering financial firm NOLs carryforwards and various ploys by certain bank holding company hedge funds to avoid paying taxes pretty much in perpetuity, the Charlotte economy may not be just as happy:

Bank of America employs 15,000 people in its hometown, said
Bob Morgan, president of the Charlotte Chamber, a group that
promotes local business interests. That’s about 5 percent of the
bank’s global workforce of 281,863. Wells Fargo has about 19,000
employees in the city after cutting about 2,000 jobs there
during the past year, Morgan said.

Yet before BofA moves on with the whole transitioning thing too far, it will be more interesting what the fallout from the existing debacle of a management team will be, especially beginning in February when Mr. Lewis' jury trial is set to start. Perhaps it is not so much the wonderful (if soon to be bankrupt) New York subway system that is the draw, as is figuring out just what mess the Lewis successor will be inheriting. And that is one topic that nobody has either any information or desire to prognosticate on at this point, especially with the NY AG being oddly silent for over a month.


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Tue, 11/03/2009 - 13:22 | Link to Comment RozzertheDropsky
RozzertheDropsky's picture

A shame they didn't keep the whole thing at 555 California Street, SF. A magnificent building covered with Carnelian granite. Never been the same since it went NationsBank. But the obvious solution is at hand: Michael Jordan, who's already demonstrated his interest in things Charlottean. Could he do any worse? What a draw for depositors: "Be like Mike."

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 17:21 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 13:27 | Link to Comment Hondo
Hondo's picture

To waste taxpayers monies moving this dead elephant to NYC is an insult.  Bascially they, like many homeowners don't have the financial capacity to move!

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 13:35 | Link to Comment Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

Can't they recruit someone from Goldman who will take the job long enough to merge toxic BankAmerica in to one of Goldman's other competitors? You know, kill two birds with one stone.


Tue, 11/03/2009 - 13:43 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 14:22 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 15:05 | Link to Comment Anal_yst
Anal_yst's picture

1. Business Continuity Planning (yea, yea...)

2. I'm sure Charlotte is a lovely place, but neither I nor anyone in NYC I know would want to move there, ESPECIALLY for such a precarious gig.

3. Most banks have their operations all over the country/world these days.  Sure the "core" investment banks are in NYC/London/SF/Hong Kong/etc, but the rest of the ops are often in the middle of nowhere, relatively speaking

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 17:53 | Link to Comment Johnny Cashflow
Johnny Cashflow's picture

I live in NC (via NYC). I, nor anyone I know in NC, would want to move to Charlotte. That place has the smell of a gold rush town.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 13:54 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 13:57 | Link to Comment Steak
Steak's picture

This reminds me of a job offering ZH posted that one of the quant shops (or something) wishing to rule the world had put out.  On top of the demanding qualifications and high-powered nature of the job, this firm felt compelled to note they had fantastic "cullinary offerings" should the job be offered.

It is pathetic that the folks in financial professions on such a high level have to be bribed in this fashion.  This kind of stuff is what you'd expect from someone planning a Super Sweet 16.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 14:11 | Link to Comment AR
AR's picture

BAC is not going to move its' headquarters from Charlotte.  Nice rumors however.  The media loves to stir up stories like this. 

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 14:24 | Link to Comment AR
AR's picture

Here is another reason why banking is so screwed up. On one of the business news stations, they are discussing the possibility of BAC asking the Ex-CFO of Wachovia to take over as Bank of America's CEO.  Think about this.  The Ex-CFO of Wachovia.  How can any logical, sane person, or group of people (the board), even contemplate hiring the Ex-CFO from one of the world's most miserably failed institutions in this country (Wachovia) -- in order to run another one.  QUESTION posed (help us ZH readers):  Are people really this STUPID???  No wonder we have these problems.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 14:32 | Link to Comment MinnesotaNice
MinnesotaNice's picture

I think people are that stupid... it is a really distorted version of 'group think'... it is cronyism at its finest... makes me nauseated... the circle cluster f&ck continues on unabated.  But at least the Ex-CFO of Wachovia was not in the running for position as Chairman of the Federal Reserve... because in the times we currently live in those fantastical types of things seem to easily become the new reality.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 15:21 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Sally Krawchek is the ex CFO of Citi.  Just saying.....

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 17:28 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 17:36 | Link to Comment Circumspice
Circumspice's picture

Kelly was the CFO from before the merger with Golden West and a lot of the ramp-up in structured products, and he presided over the First Union-Wachovia merger as CFO and the BNY-Mellon merger as CEO. Both mergers were fairly successful, and Wachovia's worst decisions occurred after he left. I can see why a company struggling with two mergers might want Kelly. Heck, Wachovia wanted him back in the middle of last year.

The CFO during the Golden West acquisition was Tom Wurtz. As far as I know, he's left banking. The CEO at the time, Ken Thompson, is at some PE firm.

The only thing crazy about asking Kelly to be CEO is the idea that he'd leave BNY Mellon for a zombie bank.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 14:25 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 14:26 | Link to Comment MinnesotaNice
MinnesotaNice's picture

I cannot believe that with 6 billion people in the world... and 300 million of them living in the United States... that there is not one qualified person who wishes to be the CEO of BAC and live in Charlotte...  what has this world come to.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 14:32 | Link to Comment AR
AR's picture

Minnesota  /  Honestly... we are just speechless over this.  Are people really this stupid?  No logic anymore. No common sense.  Just stunning to us.  It's like a crack addict going to a rehab center -- and they repeatedly prescribe more crack.  We're just so screwed.  

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 14:39 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 15:08 | Link to Comment crosey
crosey's picture

The bank won't relo HQ as long as Hugh McColl is still alive and kicking...just my opinion.

Also, too much invested in Charlotte.

But if they do move, why not DC?  Hell, they're run from there anyway.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 15:29 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 16:27 | Link to Comment RowdyRoddyPiper
RowdyRoddyPiper's picture

Lets move BoA to Charlotte Amelie in the watch the flood of resumes.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 17:05 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 17:40 | Link to Comment Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

I'm expecting Jon Corzine to be available in January.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 17:41 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 18:04 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 18:27 | Link to Comment Rainman
Rainman's picture

Even before the merger with Nation's Bank, BAC was a conglomeration of different banking cultures from various mergers over a century since it was founded as the Bank of Italy. It went totally  schizophrenic with the SoCal Security Pacific Bank merger in the early 90s. In an effort to get bigger, it lost a lot of customers in the CA market even before the Nation's merger....especially the loyal agricultural accounts of the farmers in the Central Valley and Sonoma Valley wine country.

In 1990, I was especially amused when SF-based BofA impulsively decided it would not support the Boy Scouts, since the Scouts had a rule regarding openly gay scoutmasters. The farmers pulled their accounts by the hundreds and BofA was forced to reverse itself within 30 days. Notwithstanding the validity of the cause, it was a dumbass position that was bound to piss off the non-SF customer base. An incredibly stupid management decision.......and when they reversed the position, the gays were then pissed at them !! So they managed to piss everybody off. Brilliant !!

McColl wanted out of the SF area with the merger because he's a Charlotte guy and because SF is an outrageously expensive place to do business compared to Charlotte. So he took the name and dumped SF as the HQ for the merged bank.

My point is that TBTF banking became a faceless bureaucratic maze of combined and competing bureaucracies .  As they got bigger, they decided to shit on their loyal customer bases and pursue new, more  complicated ventures. Now they are totally detached from any loyal community roots and legally insolvent.

Everyone needs to do business with a local community bank or credit union and dump the TBTF banks. They are totally incompetent and greedy fools who are sucking the life out of our country. So fuck 'em !!

My rant for the day.....maybe the week.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 19:49 | Link to Comment T-888
T-888's picture

Come on, Charlottes not that bad. We do have a few Ruth's Chris's around...

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 21:02 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 11/04/2009 - 08:50 | Link to Comment Brett in Manhattan
Brett in Manhattan's picture

If there's a good fried chicken joint in Manhattan, I haven't seen it. There's a great one, Hattie's, in Saratoga Springs which is upstate.

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 21:39 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 11/03/2009 - 21:50 | Link to Comment Anonymous
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