Bank of America’s Ken Lewis to receive no pay for 2009

October 16, 2009

Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis pauses as he speaks at the National Urban League Conference in Chicago July 30, 2009. (file photo) REUTERS/John Gress By Joe Rauch

CHARLOTTE, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis will receive no pay or benefits for his last year of work at the company.

Lewis, CEO of Bank of America for nearly a decade, was scheduled to receive $1.5 million in base pay this year, and no planned bonuses or other payments, said company spokesman Bob Stickler on Thursday.

The pay cut comes a day before the bank is to announce its third-quarter earnings. Once heralded as a hero of the financial crisis, Lewis is now besieged by legal probes into the purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. late last year from the New York State attorney general and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The compensation change came as the result of a request from the U.S. government’s pay czar Ken Feinberg, Stickler said.

Lewis acceded to the request because he felt “it was not in the best interest of Bank of America for him to get involved in a dispute with the paymaster,” Stickler said.

Feinberg did not respond to a request for comment.

Lewis received $9.9 million in total compensation in 2008 as a mix of salary and bonuses, according to the company’s proxy statement. The bank reported a $4 billion profit in 2008.

On Sept. 30, Lewis announced plans to retire from the bank by year’s end, and is due to receive up to $125 million in previously accrued retirement benefits and accumulated stock holdings in the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank.

It is unclear whether Feinberg is reviewing Lewis’ retirement compensation as well.

Stickler declined to comment when asked about on-going negotiations over Lewis’ retirement payout – which includes a $50 million pension plan frozen early this decade – and said the bank was in “on-going discussions on a variety of topics” with Feinberg.

See also: Bank of America posts $1 billion loss

(Reporting by Joe Rauch, additional reporting by Steve Eder in New York, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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