Two weeks ago, in a move that has disheartened corporate ethicists everywhere, even as far away as Russia, Bank of America’s board of directors voted to bestow upon CEO Brian Moynihan the additional title of chairman. The current chairman, Chad Holliday, will remain on the board. When reached for a comment by Bud Fox News, Charles Faux-Pas, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Trenton Christian University, remarked: “This action shows all the decision-making ability of a Florida State University Athletic Director. It’s like hiring a fidgety guy with really bad teeth and a nervous tic to work in the pharmacy department.”
Back in 2009, when Ken Lewis held both titles, the company’s board, in what was widely viewed as a good corporate governance move, voted to split the positions. A year after that vote, Mr. Moynihan became CEO.
According to the Wall Street Journal: “The move [to now combine CEO and Chairman roles] had been informally discussed among board members at least as early as 2013, said people familiar with the matter. Some board members who had argued against it have since left.”
Said Professor Faux-Pas: “That’s the spirit, as soon as the ethical types have left the building, crank the clocks back to those heady days of the Countrywide acquisition. BofA just made a $17 billion settlement with the government on top of huge fines because of moronic things they did back when the CEO and Chairman roles were combined. I’m not saying that having them separate would have prevented it, but this doesn’t pass a second-grader’s smell test.”
Bank of America acquired Countrywide in 2008, a move that significantly contributed to BofA’s subsequent legal troubles. Countrywide was run by Angelo “The Tan Man of Mortgages” Mozilo, and rumor has it that his presence is still strangely felt among top BofA executives. A managing director who recently joined the firm and asked to remain anonymous told Bud Fox News, “I’ve seen Mozilo in the building, I just know it. As recently as last week as a matter of fact. And you know what’s even weirder? A tanning bed was delivered to Moynihan’s office a day later.”
Considering the board’s recent move, that’s not weird at all.