Updated from 4:44 p.m. EDT
The tumult in
Bank of America's
board room continued on Friday, as the company announced the resignation of embattled lead director O. Temple Sloan.
Sloan, who served as a director for 13 years, was chairman of the executive and compensation and benefits committees, and also a member of the corporate governance committee. He became one target of a campaign by
shareholder groups whose push for boardroom changes stripped CEO
Ken Lewis of his chairman title at a vote last month.
Jerry Finger, who holds a relatively small stake in BofA through his firm Finger Interests Ltd., but launched a high-profile campaign against Sloan, Lewis and Jackie Ward, the chair of the asset-quality commission, said he was "of course pleased with the news."
"We believe that his resignation is responsive to the wishes of the shareholders and will be the beginning of creating a corporate governance culture that is more focused on its accountability, responsiveness and duty to shareholders," Finger said in a statement. "We applaud Mr. Sloan and the board for taking this action and demonstrating their respect for the will of the shareholders."
Sloan submitted his letter of resignation to Walter E. Massey, who replaced Lewis as chairman following the vote. Massey, however, may not have a long tenure since he will reach mandatory retirement age within a year.
"We thank Temple for his long and distinguished service to our company," Massey said in a statement. "He has been a major contributor as our company moved to a nationwide and then global enterprise."
Lewis called Sloan a "trusted adviser who has made an invaluable contribution to the success of our company."
Shareholders were angry about what they considered an obfuscation of facts about
acquisition, which helped send BofA shares down to $3 in early March. The stock has since regained significant value, closing down 6 cents at $11.21 on Friday and chatter about boardroom changes has died down.
Lewis has said he intends to stay on as CEO until the company begins to repay funds invested by the government as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the board has reiterated support for him several times.