Ken Lewis Farewell Letter

Tyler Durden's picture

To my teammates:

As some of you may know, I always end my summer in the mountains, giving me time to reflect on the bank’s challenges and our strategies to meet them. I have always returned to the company in the fall energized and ready to get to work with all of you to meet those challenges and pursue our goals.

This year, though, has been different. This year, I returned with a strong belief that the major strategic challenges of my tenure as CEO have been met. We have built leading market positions in every major product category in our industry. We have come through the worst economic downturn in 80 years with all the tools, assets and talent we need to succeed and win. We have taken the most important steps to reduce and remove the need for government support of our company.

The next great set of challenges for our company – executing across our businesses to achieve our potential, and imagining how our company must continue to evolve to meet the changing demands of the global marketplace – are for our next chief executive officer, and for our Executive Management Team, which I know is capable of rising to any challenge. I now have a strong sense that the work that has consumed me for the past eight years is largely finished, and that it is time for a new leader to take on new challenges with all of you.

For these reasons, I informed the board today of my intention to retire at the end of the year.I am comfortable with this decision, not only personally, but also as someone who is greatly invested in Bank of America. Our board of directors and our senior management include more talent, and more diversity of talent, than at any time in this company’s history. They begin the next chapter in our company’s history with a franchise unique in the world: a bank with primacy in U.S. retail and commercial banking, global wealth management and corporate and investment banking.

I have spent a lot of time this year meeting with our customers, investors and associates around the country and around the world. They understand what we have built and what we can offer them, and their excitement about the future of this bank is contagious.

I am gratified that even some of the critics of our acquisition of Merrill Lynch have come to acknowledge how well the deal is working out for our clients, and the great potential this combination holds for our shareholders over the long-run. Looking at the range of clients covered by our financial advisors and the strong position our traders and investment bankers have in the most important markets around the world, it has become hard to imagine Bank of America without Merrill Lynch.

Certainly, this journey has been a rocky one, and not for the faint of heart, but perseverance is paying off. There is no question in my mind that our success in these businesses will continue and grow over time.

None of this is to say that our bank does not face challenges. A near double-digit unemployment rate is bad medicine for a bank that serves consumers, and I am disappointed in how we managed credit risk. The next two quarters will be difficult.

I can assure you, though, that we have devoted the resources necessary to managing credit better. We have access to credit markets on terms that reflect our strength and stability. And when the economy does return to something approaching normal, our consumer bank – with preeminent positions in deposits, homes loans and card services – will lead the industry and will be an earnings machine.

Some will suggest that I am leaving under pressure or because of questions regarding the Merrill deal. I will simply say that this was my decision, and mine alone.

Most important to me is this: I will leave knowing that almost anywhere I go in this country, I’ll be able to walk into a Bank of America banking center and receive a warm greeting. I will be able to travel the world, and visit towers full of bright, energetic associates creating financial solutions for companies of every size and shape. Everywhere I go, I will know and see that the company I had the privilege to serve for 40 years is in good hands.

When I joined this company fresh out of college in 1969, I had several offers from other very strong companies, some offering markedly better terms. I chose this company because of the culture and the people I found here. It was a group of people who believed that with trust and teamwork, anything is possible. It was a culture that rewarded hard work and enthusiasm, that allowed and encouraged people to do the right thing, that demanded leadership from its associates, and settled for nothing short of winning.

We remain that company today, because of all of you. Thank you for allowing me to lead the greatest financial services company in the world. Thank you for understanding that our customers come first, and that all our future success flows from them. Thank you for all the support you’ve given me over the years. I’m very grateful. Ken

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Ruth's picture

Ah, I feel better, glad he got in his vacations, hope this isn't his christmas holiday early. 

Spartacus's picture

They understand what we have built and what we can offer them, and their excitement about the future of this bank is contagious.

Sounds like a homosexul. Gets excited and excites others with his behavior. Good show, Lewis. You did n't tell us if you ever had an incentuous relationship. Heheh, just joking dear. You see, you drew a fast one on all the Americans and, the other world-folks, in whose country your blood-sucking machine works.

Good fuck*** riddance.

Crab Cake's picture

I wonder if he is going to end up getting bashed in the face by big house Bubba like Allen Stanford?  One can only hope.

DrPsycho's picture


         Ken Lewis haha

Mos's picture

P.S. If anyone needs me I will be spending my time with my boyfriend, Jose, at Butner, NC cellblock C.

Miles Kendig's picture

Naww.   Ken is going straight to D block at Lewisberg.

I am a Man I am Forty's picture

And his bullshit continues.  He was probably planning on retiring then anyway.  You know, before the market imploded and the ML deal.

Crab Cake's picture

Here's what I would go with....

Tool - Aenima

Not necessarily dedicated to Kenny boy, but it's the way I feel today.

Miles Kendig's picture

Gotta go to church with the Rev. Maynard every once in a while no doubt

My response

Lets_Eat_Amen's picture

Prison Sex by Tool may also serve nicely

waterdog's picture

and after 40 years of working his fingers to the bone to be someone, it only took two conversations with monkey man and tweeter to become a nobody.

economicmorphine's picture

Borrowing heavily from the Traveling Willbury's Bruce Springsteen parody, are we?

waterdog's picture

Borrowing requires a good knowledge of cut & past. When I am going to use someone else's character at the same sight over and over I provide the credit the first time I use it- not the next 7 times.

I do not know anything about Springstein other than I never liked his music when I heard it on commercial radio. I believe those working man themes were used several years before Bruce's grandparents were born.

I believe my best response for you is to direct you to the response George Harrison made to the judge in his copyright trail for My Sweet Lord.

Our knowledge comes from what see and hear. All knowledge is borrowed.

I appreciate you responding to my comment. It is rare that I go back to one of my comments to see if anyone responded. The reason for that is that I am really just talking to myself. I often marked my own stuff as junk after I went back a day later and read it.

I do not recognize your handle. If you are an infrequent blogger to this site, stick around. I'll show you some real junk.

I have a handle that is easy to remember so, when you are going through the comments and you come to waterdog, just skip over it like all the sane people do. Look, the real news is bad enough, why compound your aggrevation reading what I am saying to myself?

Thanks again for responding. Now I have proof for my therapist that someone does care.

AndItsGone's picture

"In Jersey anything's legal as long as you don't get caught." My yearbook quote.

Larry Doyle's picture

Well it looks like Ken was caught. Those who have reviewed documents, e-mails, and transcripts from last December are indicating Ken utilized the MAC to shake down Bernanke and Paulson. Is this evidence benig contrived? Who knows but for more,

AN0NYM0US's picture

And while Ken goes out with a bang - the (alleged) theft continues - folks kenny boy is a distraction

PPIP Starts with Modest $1.13 Billion Investment

"I am pleased with the progress we have made in launching PPIP," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement. "This program allows Treasury to partner with leading investment management firms to increase the flow of private capital into the market for [toxic assets] and give taxpayers a chance to share in the profits."

Gilgamesh's picture

Complete distraction and attempt to distance criticism away from BAC from here on out.  That is a company which needs their shadow to be exposed.

nhsadika's picture

Ken Lewis aside, I'm sure upper management in these banks are looking to check out in the next 1-2 quarters.  Why not go out with cake and bonuses, and teary eyed farewell parties.  There is no better time.   And when you've cleaned your hands of it, and things aren't looking so rosy in a couple of quarters new management will be under the cross-hairs. You'll even get on CNBC to give expert-advise on the failings of new management.

TeresaE's picture

Nope, he'll get paid to give us commentary broadcast by CNBC and repeated ad naseum in all MSM markets.



Sqworl's picture

JPM heir stepping down also??? I guess his creation of WMD did not help!  lol

Anonymous's picture

Anyone that has been a part of passing on ....or
in the creation of bogus debt ....who has/had responsibility
of oversight has to relinquish all bonuses and any financial remuneration until all innocent parties are made whole....

What doe this mean....?

It means what it means....

This guy sounds like Bush....

Who gives a s---- about this guy's cushy life....being on

vacation.... WTF is this....

How about the foreclosures....looking for other people's money....

Now it is your turn....

Enough of this sappy southern crap....

It is all the same whether it is hard core GS

mother sellers money junkies....or slick southern bs....

A spade is a spade.....

Now its time to pay for the wrongs.....that's right ....

Your turn....

Hansel's picture

Ken goes down as the scapegoat only to get pardoned by Obama for "service to the country during these extaordinary times"?

Gilgamesh's picture

Yes, but not to the country.

Gordon_Gekko's picture

Obama will issue pardons to zoo animals if the bankers told him to.

Careless Whisper's picture

He overpaid for ML. He lied to his shareholders. He got rolled by Paulson. Fcuk that loser.

agrotera's picture

since he actually worked for the cartel, isn't it possible that he truly was the same as a person with a gun at their head? 

Admittedly he SHOULD have said NO to paulson and bernake if he didn't want the deal...but, all the way back to September, he spoke to the press about paulson and bernake insisting that he would single handedly take down the world's financial system if he didn't do the deal...he wanted to pay half of what was paid...and he wanted to back out of the deal when the info of the losses came out in Dec...every step along the way the big bosses stepped in to keep him in line.  I don't understand how the big bosses aren't having to pay for their crimes since they orchestrated and used him every step along the way.

I do understand how you feel about him being a loser, but seriously, if he did have the gun at his head the way it looks, can you blame him? Some people for sure are heros and very brave to the death, and his actions are very weak, but, i still blame paulson and bernake for putting the gun on him every step of the way.

Anonymous's picture

what is he smoking BoA did not exist 40 years ago, did it?

economicmorphine's picture

Teammates?  Serfs is more like it.

Anonymous's picture

What will his retirement package look like? 100, 200, 500 million?

Gordon_Gekko's picture

With Kenny boy being scapegoated for the entire BOA-ML mess, Benny and Hanky must be pretty happy with themselves. If only they knew what fate might have in store for them, they'd be BEGGING for Kenny boy's fate. 


Sqworl's picture

Karma...let's hope Kenny boy writes his book!!!

Miles Kendig's picture

I can attest to the fact it is never too late to be Miles Kendig

+1 GG

AN0NYM0US's picture

I wish you were correct - Benny will occupy the chair of some "distinguished" name at an Ivy League school - Hank is a bit of a mystery man with his Christian Science background i.e. nothing exists; but I do see the master suite in a  tri-deck Feadship in his future as opposed to the lower bunk of cell block D

Gordon_Gekko's picture

Do you know what happened in the French Revolution in the 18th century?

AN0NYM0US's picture

yes my last name is Defarge

AN0NYM0US's picture

Kenny effed up the Merrill deal and bonus stuff etc... meanwhile the AIG beneficiaries got 100 cents on the dollar - and that's just the beginning - what Kenny did amounts to a misdemeanor compared to the alleged theft of hundreds of billions by the banksters and politicians

Miles Kendig's picture

We appreciate that the Scarlet Pimpernel will never choose save them their fate.

Anonymous's picture

Alan Grayson seems to have the temperament to play Robespierre (though that did not end well).

MsCreant's picture

I swear, you folks around here are all alike. All you want is some head...

Miles Kendig's picture


You folks?  haha

That kind only works for 15 seconds or so (the silent scream, no).  I would hope most folks around here aren't working or trading on that short of a time horizon.

Gilgamesh's picture

I do think Anon is correct.  But Hank is going to have to have a behind-the-scenes master role.  He just cannot effectively accomplish the big things by giving speeches to the groups.  If I really had to picture Hank doing something more fitting himself, all I can see is hunting wabbits.

monmick's picture

I think you are confusing Elmer Fudd (who hunts wabbits) with Porky Pig (who s-s-stutters).

T-T-T-That's all, folks!

Gilgamesh's picture

Ah, I did merge the two together in the mind.  Much to my amusement, when I just went to YouTube to refresh myself on both - this is what came up as the 4th result from a simple search for just "Elmer Fudd."

Either YouTube search results have gotten as smart as Google Ads, or there really are no such things as coincidences anymore.

MsCreant's picture

Maybe hunting wabbits wit Elmer Dick Chenney?

Anonymous's picture

that christian science background is of more
than passing interest....paulson went to
work for the nixon whitehouse where both
john ehrlichman and bob haldeman were christian
scientists....i believe there were more nixon
staffers who cs....not sure what to make of it
but my guess is that paulson was brought in
by either ehrlichman or haldeman...

agrotera's picture

My sentiment exactly.  He is a total scapegoat--he said it over and over and over on every interview:

i didn't want to do the deal but i was STRONGLY persuaded that it was in the best interest of our company to do so, because the world would come to an end if we didn't give a bankrupt company 80% of a cashcow BAC share for each of their bankrupt shares...and oh yea, i really wanted to do the deal after paulson explained that to me.