Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis announced he would resign at the end of the year. One analyst tells Bloomberg News that Lewis had become a "distraction" after taking over Merrill Lynch and buying subprime mortgage company Countrywide, "He’s drifting out to sea like a dying Eskimo, knowing the company can do better and thrive without him."
The Wall Street Journal reports that Lewis was actually annoyed: "A person close to him says Mr. Lewis was fed up with the criticism that haunted him following the takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co. " (Hey, that's what happens when you take over a company with crazy losses and let them pay their employees huge bonuses.) "The board had told Mr. Lewis it wanted to know how long he planned to stay. He indicated that he would stay through 2010, this person said, but he changed his mind during a vacation to Aspen, Colo., in late August." Vacation trips to Aspen can totally clear one's mind.
Lewis started at BoA in 1969 as a loan officer and worked his way up. The Times reports, "Lewis is not entitled to severance pay but stands to collect pension benefits worth $53.2 million, largely from a retirement program that was frozen in 2003" and the WSJ also has Lewis' farewell letter: "Certainly, this journey has been a rocky one, and not for the faint of heart, but perseverance is paying off. There is no question in my mind that our success in these businesses will continue and grow over time."