Bank of America (BAC) shareholders may not be able to kick Ken Lewis off of the board of directors at the annual meeting today, but they have some chance of pushing him out as chairman. The stockholder voting options on the B of A proxy allow them to vote separately on each issue.
But it may not matter much if the bank ends up with a non-executive chairman, because it will still have the same board that supported Lewis's decisions to buy Merrill Lynch and succumb to government pressure to keep the deal on track. In other words, titles may change, but the regime stays the same.
According to The Wall Street Journal, "If shareholders tell Mr. Lewis that he shouldn't remain chairman, he won't resist the decision."
A look at the B of A board shows that it is dominated by old men who have positions of authority at their own companies. The average age of the members is mid-60s and many are sitting chairman and CEOs or people who have retired from those positions. It is not likely to be a group that will give Lewis a hard time whether he is chairman or not.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.