Ken Lewis, the embattled CEO of Bank of America, is leaving the company, succumbing to nearly a year of strife that followed his company's acquisition of Merrill Lynch. The bank said in a statement that Lewis, 62, would retire as CEO and also leave the company's board by the end of the year. The company said his successor will be selected by the time he steps down Dec. 31.
The news, coming after shareholders had stripped Lewis of his chairman's title earlier this year, wasn't surprising because of the heavy pressure he came under after the Merrill deal. Since the deal closed Jan. 1, it was learned that the investment bank, with the knowledge of BofA executives, gave billions of dollars in bonuses to employees even as it asked for more bailout money from the government.