en Lewis was “halfway” ousted from Bank of America, said Felix Salmon in Reuters, when shareholders voted Wednesday to remove him as chairman but keep him on as CEO. The board can dump him if it chooses, and “I doubt Lewis will stay in charge long.” Nor should he, after his “ridiculous” speech to shareholders, defending “with a straight face” his disastrous acquisition of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch.
If shareholders want to blame someone for the Merrill Lynch deal, said The Washington Times in an editorial, they should look to Washington. Then–Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson “coerced” Lewis into the “shotgun merger,” threatening to fire him and the board if they tried to pull out after learning of Merrill’s $15 billion quarterly loss.
Despite the “torrent of criticism” of the deal, and Lewis’ leadership generally, said Tom Petruno in the Los Angeles Times, the shareholders may just be following a growing trend to split the CEO and chairman roles, as a “check on the CEO’s power.” Still, Lewis should be worried—Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo shareholders just quashed similar proposals.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- Why Texas Republicans may want to cool the anti-Obama land-grab talk
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why Antonin Scalia was right to defend a drug dealer
Subscribe to the Week