Updated from 2:12 a.m. EST



) --

Bank of America

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on late Wednesday said consumer banking head Brian Moynihan will succeed retiring Ken Lewis as CEO at the end of the year, ending a sometimes bumpy search process for the nation's largest bank.

Moynihan was early considered a frontrunner for the


along with another internal candiate, Chief Risk Officer Greg Curl, but Bank of America reportedly gave a hard look at external candidates, particularly

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Robert Kelly

. Bank of America and Kelly reportedly broke off talks over pay and governance issues.

"While we considered external candidates, the board decided after listening to shareholders, regulators and others that Brian's experience was commensurate with or better than any of those candidates, and he offered the advantage of a smooth transition," said Bank of America Chairman Walter Massey, who led the search committee. "Bank of America has a talented team, and one of our principal jobs as directors is to support that team as it goes about creating value for all of our constituencies."

Moynihan, 50, is currently president of consumer and small business banking. He joined Bank of America when the company acquired FleetBoston Financial in 1994.

Shares of Bank of America closed Wednesday up 9 cents, or 0.6%, to $15.28. The stock rose a penny in premarket trading Thursday.


Written by Michael Gannon in New York


Gannon joined TheStreet.com in March 2007, after spending more than six years as a reporter and editor for The Journal News in Westchester County, N.Y., most recently as an assistant metro editor. He earlier covered several political and government beats as a reporter, including the city of Yonkers. Earlier in his career, he covered venture capital, private equity and the IPO market for Thomson Financial's Venture Capital Journal and advertising for Sales-Fax, a small, independent trade weekly. He earned a B.A. in history from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.S. in journalism from Northwestern University�s Medill School.