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Bank of America CEO Search Deadline Looms

Several candidates under consideration earlier in the process are now reportedly out of the running, including Citigroup (C) director Michael O'Neill, who had once been an executive at BankAmerica before it merged into Bank of America; PNC Financial (PNC) Senior Vice Chairman William Demchak; Bill Winters, the former head of investment banking at JPMorgan Chase; JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) current head of retail banking Charles Scharf; U.S. Bancorp (USB) CEO Richard Davis; Bank of New York Mellon (BK) CEO Robert Kelly; BlackRock (BLK) CEO Larry Fink; recently deposed GMAC CEO Al de Molina, who was Bank of America's CFO a few years ago; and Citigroup executive Eugene McQuade.

The outsiders are either dissatisfied with the pay options and Bank of America's situation, or are happy in their current roles. Another former Bank of America CFO, James Hance, hasn't yet been contacted, according to a prominent investor.

Whoever does take the reins at Bank of America will have to feel an obligation to the bank, or an obligation to the country and its taxpayers. But even that will be difficult.

Lewis, one of the most devoted and experienced Bank of America executives, is apparently too frustrated to stay on board. Executive suites at other troubled firms capsized by the financial crisis are not encouraging.

American International Group (AIG) lost Edward Liddy, who had agreed to take the job for $1 a year, left after a short and aggrieved tenure. New CEO Robert Benmosche recently threatened to leave after just three months because of scuffles with lawmakers. David Moffett left Freddie Mac (FRE) in March for similar reasons after a similarly short tenure. Freddie has now had four acting leaders since mid-2008.

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