Shortly after being named the new CEO of Bank of America on Wednesday night, Brian Moynihan discussed the economic and organizational challenges that lie ahead for the Charlotte company and for him. He is scheduled to succeed Ken Lewis on Jan. 1. Following is an edited transcript of the conversation.
American Banker: What was your overall take on the length and publicity of the search?
Moynihan: Obviously the board did a thorough job looking at the various candidates.
AB: What are your views of strategy? Is it business as usual or will there be changes?
Moynihan: The core businesses that we have arranged with hard work over the last 5-10 years are second to none. …The issue is we have the best franchise, and we have been through a tough economic cycle. We just need our team to execute. We have cleared a lot of things in the last few weeks.
AB: How do you prioritize B of A's challenges/opportunities in 2010?
Moynihan: We must continue to weather the recession and repair the balance sheet and [address] credit over the next 12 months. … The key is the economic recovery. If you look at what most people believe the economy is getting better. We just have to execute.
AB: Is there a mandate from the board to make changes?
Moynihan: We are all comfortable with the business model. We will all work to make sure we coalesce. Everyone agrees top to bottom that this is the best company in the world.
AB: Quite a few shareholders voiced their preference for an outside CEO. With the next annual meeting just four months away, what can you do to win those investors over?
Moynihan: I haven't really thought about that.
AB: Will there be a priority on meeting with those investors?
Moynihan: I met with investors in my current role. They believe in this company and the capabilities we have.
AB: How do you plan to divide your time between Boston and Charlotte?
Moynihan: My job and my office are in Charlotte.
AB: With the external search and all the media attention, how will that process shape your leadership?
Moynihan: The associates in this company have known me for nearly 16-17 years, including predecessor companies. We all understand the mission we're on, and I am sure they will respond to my leadership.