Vote of Confidence

Stephen Steinour, Huntington Bancshares Inc.'s chief executive, bought more than $1 million of his troubled company's shares last week.Steinour and 13 other top executives purchased about $1.58 million of Huntington shares.

Jeri Grier, Huntington's senior vice president of corporate communications, called the purchases a sign of the executives' confidence in the money-losing Columbus, Ohio, company.

"It is further indication in their belief in the performance of our core business," Grier said in an e-mail.

Steinour, who became the CEO in January, purchased 300,000 shares at $3.4038 each, according to regulatory filings last week.

Since dropping to $1.02 a share on March 6, Huntington's stock has rebounded as the company has made progress in moving beyond an unprofitable lending relationship that has dragged down earnings for the last two years.

On Thursday the shares declined 5.1%, to close at $2.79.

Huntington lost $2.4 billion in the first quarter, largely as a result of a $2.6 billion impairment charge.

Smitten in Charlotte

Evelyn Y. Davis was in rare form at Bank of America Corp.'s annual meeting, even by the fiery investor's lofty standards.The Washington scion is certainly no stranger to such meetings, but on Wednesday she managed to garner more shareholder angst that even B of A's chief executive, Ken Lewis, whose chairmanship was on the line — and eventually lost — at the assembly.

On at least two occasions, Davis skipped the line of potential speakers to get to the microphone, including a successful effort to be the first shareholder to address Lewis directly.

Davis made several far-fetched accusations, including an unsubstantiated claim that Larry Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock Inc., is out to take Lewis' job.

"He is being insubordinate and should be fired," she demanded. (B of A inherited a minority stake in the asset management company from its Jan. 1 purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.)

Lewis was willing to let her approach the microphone repeatedly, but her reluctance to yield the floor finally sparked a cacophony of catcalls and demands from others in attendance to set time limits.

Davis had already gone against the current, announcing last week that she still supported keeping Lewis in the chairman's seat. He was ultimately stripped of that title in a narrow vote; Walter Massey was chosen to succeed him.

In the end, her persistence paid off, if not in helping Lewis retain his title, then at least in being able to persuade the still-president and CEO to step down from the podium, whereupon she could give the executive a hug and a kiss, demonstrating her support.

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