California pension fund lines up against Bank of America chief

The country's largest public pension fund announced today that it will vote against Ken Lewis and the entire board of Bank of America directors at the shareholders meeting in Charlotte tomorrow.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, joins a list of unhappy institutional shareholders that want to vote Lewis off the bank's board of directors. If that happened, Lewis would still be chief executive of the bank, though experts agree that he'd almost certainly have to resign or risk public furor.

CalPERS says Bank of America directors misled shareholders into voting for the Jan. 1 purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. Lewis has said in testimony to the New York attorney general that on Dec. 5, the day of the shareholder vote, he expected fourth-quarter losses of about $9 billion at Merrill. The investment firm ended up losing more than $15 billion in that period, though it added to Bank of America's earnings in the following quarter.

Monday, the California State Teachers' Retirement System also announced it would oppose all the bank's directors.


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