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) --

Bank of America's

(BAC) - Get Free Report

board has hired an executive search firm to assist it with finding a new CEO to replace the departing Ken Lewis, a report says.

The Wall Street Journal

reports BofA's hiring of executive recruiter Russell Reynolds Associates perhaps indicates a willingness to look outside the bank for a successor to Lewis, who is retiring by the end of the year.

It's expected that a committee asked to find BofA's next CEO will submit its pick to the full board by the end of October, the


reports, citing people familiar with the situation.

As previously reported, the two top

internal candidates

for CEO are consumer-banking chief Brian Moynihan and Chief Risk Officer Gregory Curl.

A Russell Reynolds spokeswoman declined to comment for the newspaper on the firm's selection for the assignment. Among its recent assignments, the search firm helped

Hartford Financial

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find Liam McGee as the next CEO for the insurer. McGee, whose selection was announced in late September, is Bank of America's former head of consumer banking.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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