After months of being rebuffed by big-name outsiders, Bank of America was forced to settle on an internal candidate yesterday, announcing that its consumer banking chief, Brian Moynihan, will succeed outgoing C.E.O. Ken Lewis. Mr. Moynihan might have Attorney General Andrew Cuomo—and his endless probe into the bank’s merger with Merrill Lynch—to thank for his promotion.
Last week, Mr. Cuomo’s office sent a letter to the big bank questioning the veracity of its other top contender, chief risk officer Gregory Curl. “As we have told you and your colleagues, we are seriously concerned that Mr. Curl has provided testimony that was intentionally or recklessly false,” an attorney in Mr. Cuomo’s office wrote regarding his testimony before the office. According to the letter, Mr. Curl conveniently forgot a phone call after the bank was forced to waive its attorney-client privilege.
Then, on Wednesday—after the bank’s last outsider rejected the top job—two BofA board members met with officials in the attorney general’s office. A few hours later, the bank announced Mr. Moynihan as the new C.E.O.
Unfortunately for the bank, Mr. Moynihan his own credibility problems related to the Merrill deal. “I didn’t find some of his answers believable,” Congressman Edolphus Towns said of Mr. Moynihan’s appearance last month before a House oversight committee. Which is, of course, why the bank was looking outside in the first place.