Ken Lewis Takes Over as Bank of America CEO; Hundreds of Shareholders Gather to Say Farewell to Chairman Hugh McColl
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of shareholders today attended the final annual meeting hosted by Hugh L. McColl, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). McColl retired today after a 41-year distinguished career with the company and one of the most enterprising records in the history of banking.
During the meeting, McColl handed over the reins to Kenneth D. Lewis, who has been president and chief operating officer of Bank of America. Lewis is the company's new chairman and chief executive officer and retains the title of president.
During McColl's 18 years as CEO, the company grew from a southeastern regional bank with $12 billion in assets to a global financial services powerhouse with well over $600 billion in assets. During that time, net income rose from $92 million in 1983 to almost $8 billion last year. And the market value of the company's stock rose from $700 million to about $90 billion today.
"We have run a long and hard race over these 41 years, building a great company with a great team. For many of my teammates, the race goes on, stretching into the future," said McColl. "We have a wonderful team which has been strengthened by many years of hard work and achievement. They are capable of dealing with any challenge or opportunity presented. When I walk off this stage today, I will do so with the knowledge that we have in place the best franchise and the best team, and I leave confident that they will produce the results which will reward our shareholders and themselves."
Commenting on his successor, McColl said, "I have known him for more than 30 years. He is a better businessman than I am; he is young, tough, and, in the tradition of the company's leadership, eminently fair. He is a great leader and has the energy and the drive to take us where we need to go."
While paying tribute to McColl, Lewis said, "I measure Hugh McColl's greatness in personal terms. When you're around him, his confidence, courage and optimism become yours. He believes so profoundly that the team will achieve its objective, and that you will help, that it causes you to believe that we will, and that you will. He bears all the hallmarks of a great leader: fairness, respect, trust. But in Hugh McColl, what comes through strongest is that he really cares. He cares about people, organizations, communities and getting it right. He cares about all of us working as hard as we can work to make life as good as it can be."
James H. Hance, Jr., vice chairman and chief financial officer, also paid tribute to McColl during the financial report he gave to shareholders. "Hugh McColl didn't just build a bigger company. He built a business that rewarded its owners over the last 18 years. During his tenure as CEO, earnings per share grew at a compound annual rate of 10 percent. Dividends have grown by 14 percent a year, and total shareholder return has averaged 17 percent per year. This is a record to be proud of."
In his address to shareholders, Lewis said, "Today, in my view, we have before us the business opportunity of a lifetime. Seizing this opportunity is our singular purpose, and we're pursuing it on many fronts, every one of which is designed with two thoughts in mind: one, improving the experience our customers and clients have when they do business with us; and two, improving the experience our shareholders have when they invest their money in this company."
Three new members were elected to the company's Board of Directors. The new members include John R. Belk, President of Belk, Inc., Patricia E. Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Public Broadcasting Service and C. Steven McMillan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sara Lee Corporation.
About Bank of America
One of the world's leading financial services companies, Bank of America is committed to making banking work for customers like it never has before. Through innovative technologies and the ingenuity of its people, Bank of America provides individuals, small businesses and commercial, corporate and institutional clients across the United States and around the world new and better ways to manage their financial lives. The company enables customers to do their banking and investing whenever, wherever and however they choose through the nation's largest financial services network, including more than 4,400 domestic offices and 13,000 ATMs, as well as 38 international offices, a telephone banking network that handles over a half billion calls a year and an Internet Web site that provides online access for over 3 million customers, more than any other bank.
Bank of America stock (ticker: BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges. The company's Web site is www.bankofamerica.com. News, speeches and other corporate information may be found at www.bankofamerica.com/newsroom.
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