To the Editor:
Next Wednesday, the shareholders of Bank of America Corporation will have their votes counted at the Annual Meeting of that company. The continued service of Ken Lewis as chairman and CEO has been called into question by a handful of very vocal, politically motivated, shareholders. For the well-being of the financial services industry here and abroad and for the economy of our state and nation, I earnestly hope that those few shrill voices will go unheeded.
Mr. Lewis's judgment is being questioned over the highly publicized acquisitions of Countrywide Mortgage and, more specifically, Merrill Lynch. Given the state of the economic crisis in which we are currently mired, how can anyone presume to know better than those who were called upon to make those decisions what the future holds for the combined company? Our prediction is that the very decisions being criticized today will be hailed within a couple of years as visionary and brave. But whether we are correct or the critics are correct, it is just too soon to know.
There are very few people in this world who have the combination of training, experience, talents and skills to run a company the size and complexity of Bank of America. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Ken Lewis has proven to be one of those few. We cannot imagine a worse time to deprive this great company and industry of the leadership qualities and broad skill set of Ken Lewis.Thad Woodard
President and CEO
North Carolina Bankers Association