As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Don't Cry For Me Bank Of America Stockholders

My bank's CEO will step down at the end of the year, a fitting end for someone with a role in nearly destroying the world financial markets, as well as nearly toppling his own company after the purchase of Merrill Lynch, with shares down 50% year over year. When someone intimately involved with such bad performance steps down in the real world, they are lucky if no tomatoes hit them on the way out the door. Because this is Wall Street fantasy land, Lewis will collect $53 million dollars.

Ken Lewis doesn't have a golden parachute, but he's all set for a comfortable landing -- unlike his long-suffering shareholders.

The Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) chief executive officer said Wednesday he'll step aside at year-end after eight years at the helm. Based on the company's most recent proxy statement, he will have $53 million in pension benefits waiting for him when he leaves.

That should give him about $3.5 million a year in pension payouts for the rest of his life -- at a time when people who bought the stock when he took the reins in 2001 are underwater on their investments.

Although the bank swore off employment contracts and eliminated golden parachutes seven years ago, Lewis can thank a pension plan that dates back decades for his rich retirement rewards.

I'd say that parachute is golden enough, thanks.

I don't want to start railing against pensions, because most people pay into them and earn what they get. But I think a cap slightly below $53 million dollars is probably sufficient. Especially for people like Ken Lewis.

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