BofA to select emergency CEO

CHARLOTTE - Bank of America plans to select an emergency CEO this week to step in if Ken Lewis steps down before the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Last week the bank said Lewis plans to retire Dec. 31. Bank of America's board has created a six-member committee of directors to find Lewis' successor.

The planning for an emergency replacement for Lewis, who faces possible legal problems over the bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co., started before the bank announced Lewis' retirement, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The board's contingency plan picked up momentum last month after a federal judge rejected a proposed settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the bank, coupled with reports that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo may file civil securities fraud charges against Lewis, according to the Journal story.

Bank of America spokesman Robert Stickler declined to comment on the report but said, "The nominating committee is starting its work in earnest, has a number of meetings scheduled this week, and we are going forward with finding the process of finding a new CEO."