Felix Salmon

Headless BofA

By Felix Salmon
November 6, 2009

Mark DeCambre is right: it seems that BofA is going to remain headless at least until Thanksgiving. No outsider seems to want the job — the list of people who have turned it down seems to include everybody who works or has ever worked at JP Morgan, plus former BofA executive Michael O’Neill, who went on to head up both Barclays and Bank of Hawaii. Meanwhile, the leading insider, Brian Moynihan, can’t conceivably be tapped until after his Congressional testimony on November 17.

It’s not as if Ken Lewis’s reputation needed to take another hit, but here it is anyway: he’s created a monster with no succession plan and no ability to hire a CEO. At least when Hugh McColl was building the monster it was always clear that Lewis would be there if he ever fell under a bus. Lewis, by contrast, made sure to throw any potential rivals out of their top-floor windows on a regular basis. And now the BofA board is struggling with the consequences of those decisions.

2 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Dear Board of Bank of America,

Please accept this as my application for the position of CEO of your enterprise. I am willing to accept only half the compensation of the previous occupant of the chair.

Perhaps I should mention that I will be working from the premise that BoA cannot survive, since that seems to be everyone’s belief. So, rather than prolong the agony with further denial (you might want to look up the stages of grief), my plan will be to conduct an orderly break-up of the enterprise, followed by a prepackaged bankruptcy and/or FDIC receivership for whatever parts can’t be sold.

Although this may seem harsh, I feel that it will provide much-needed certainty in the broader financial market. This will more than compensate for the losses suffered during the wind-down of the zombie corporation.

Thank you for your consideration.

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

It’s too big to fail and it has no head?

It’s a hydra!

Posted by Unsympathetic | Report as abusive

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