A shareholder activist group demanded Thursday that Bank of America Corp. fire chief executive Kenneth D. Lewis before the annual meeting next month.

In a letter to O. Temple Sloan Jr., B of A's lead director, William Patterson, the executive director of Change to Win Investment Group, wrote that Lewis must step down "to restore investor confidence" in the $2.5 trillion-asset Charlotte company. The group, which represents seven unions including the Service Employees International Union, wrote that Lewis took "outsized, reckless risks by acquiring" Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. "in the midst of severe financial uncertainty."

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