Charlotte bank keeps reshaping board

The Charlotte ObserverAugust 24, 2009 

The reshaping of Bank of America Corp.'s boardroom continued Friday, with the Charlotte bank announcing it has brought on a Morgan Stanley veteran as it seeks to inject the board with more financial expertise.

Robert Scully, 59, is the fifth new director to join the board this summer, and all have strong financial backgrounds. The board shake-up comes because shareholders, regulators and others have blamed it for some of the bank's recent problems, such as a fourth-quarter loss.

The government, which has lent Bank of America $45 billion, is also anxious to show that the bank can safeguard those taxpayer dollars. Regulators have reportedly placed the bank under stepped-up supervision that requires it to reconstitute its board with a majority of new directors, among other things.

The board started the 2009-10 term with 18 members, but half have resigned without explanation in the past three months. Scully's appointment brings the board to 14 members.

It's too early to tell how the new board members will govern the bank's chief executive, Ken Lewis, or how much they will push back on his decisions.

The bank released a five-paragraph announcement about Scully's appointment after the markets closed on Friday. He retired from Morgan Stanley in January, where he rose to co-president and was responsible for asset management, the Discover card business and merchant banking activities. He is chairman of the New York City region of Teach for America.

The four directors who joined in June also have strong financial backgrounds: One is a former Federal Reserve governor, one is the former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and two are former banking executives.

Scully's appointment was not related to government regulators, bank spokesman Scott Silvestri said. He declined to say whether more changes to the board might be on the way.

Scully is expected to serve on the board's asset quality committee and compensation and benefits committee.

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