Bank of America Corp, today said that Walter Massey was named chairman after a proposal to split the chairman and chief executive positions was narrowly approved with 50.3 percent of the vote at the company's annual shareholder meeting.
Ken Lewis, who had previously been chairman, will reman president and chief executive officer. The bank said “the board unanimously expressed its support for Lewis to continue in that role.”
Massey is president emeritus at Morehouse College in Atlanta and has been a director since 1998.
All 18 board members, including Lewis and lead director Temple Sloan, were re-elected. A source familiar with the situation had told the Observer that all directors had been re-elected, but the vote on the shareholder proposals had not been revealed until a news release this afternoon. Typically, the vote is released at the meeting, but the bank said it needed more time.
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Sloan was elected with the lowest vote margin (62.60), followed by Lewis (67.33) and Jackie Ward (71.79).
Earlier in the day at the four-hour annual meeting, shareholder activists has said there would be a cloud over the vote if directors who won re-election needed the help of shares cast by brokers vote on behalf of their clients. These are typically voted automatically with management. The broker vote accounts for about 25 percent of the votes count, CtW Investment Group estimates, meaning Lewis, Sloan and Ward needed those shares to get a majority vote.
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