The Obvious Candidate To Succeed Ken Lewis Is Ken Lewis

As the hunt for a successor for outgoing Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis hit another brick wall last week, some smart people are now saying that Ken should be asked to stay on after all.

Bloomberg reports that veteran bank analyst Dick Bove said in a recent note to clients that 'an outside candidate must be willing to take a cut in salary; give up his or her independence in running the business; and subject themselves to congressional and press attacks', and pointed out that anyone coming in would need 'about 5 years to learn what Ken Lewis knows now about this company'. Bove feels that 'someone with authority should get him to change his mind (about retiring)'.

In the meantime, The Wall Street Journal reports that William Demchak, senior vice chairman at PNC Financial Services, is said to have recently turned down an opportunity to talk to BofA's headhunter about the CEO role as the executive has millions in deferred equity, which he couldn't see the bank picking up. In addition, Demchak is said to think that BofA isn't 'fixable' due to the US government's 'heavy influence on the company'.

And Dow Jones Newswires reports that, according to a regulatory filing, hedge fund Paulson & Co purchased 300 million shares in Citigroup during the third-quarter, but cut back on holdings of Bank of America, Goldman and JPMorgan Chase.

Finally, Reuters reports that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has joined in the 'too big to fail' debate. Dimon wrote in The Washington Post that: 'If some unforeseen circumstances should put this firm at risk of collapse, I believe we should be allowed to fail. Global economic growth requires the services of big financial firms. It also requires that big financial firms be allowed to fail'.

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