So what changes now that Lewis is no longer BofA chairman?
Walter Massey is now the new chairman of Bank of America's board. In a very tight shareholder vote Wednesday, CEO Ken Lewis lost the chairman title. But what does the separation really mean? WFAE's Simone Orendain reports. For years, Bank of America shareholders have been pushing for the separation of the CEO and chairman jobs. The effort finally succeeded this year because of frustration over B of A's purchase of Merrill Lynch. But angry shareholders lost on every other challenge to leadership. Two-thirds of the board directors were easily reelected. However, CEO Ken Lewis and Lead Director Temple Sloan got 67 and 63 percent of the vote. CtW Investment Group campaigned hard to get several directors, including Lewis, off the board, and separate the CEO and chairman positions. CtW representative Michael Garland is leery because all 18 directors were reinstated. "I think unless there's something- measurable change that's demonstrated within the next couple of months the concern will be that this is a board that's perpetuating business as usual," he says. So now, Walter Massey is chairman. He has served on the B of A board for 11 years. Massey is President Emeritus of Morehouse College and has an extensive background in academia and science. WFAE tried unsuccessfully to interview him for this story. UNC Chapel Hill Finance Professor Anil Shivdasani says there's an ongoing debate in the corporate world over splitting the titles of chairman and CEO. He explained, "When you look at companies where you see the CEO and the Chairman position combined, and when you look at the studies that have looked at these companies- it actually is very hard to find any evidence that these companies perform any better or any worse than the others where these positions are separated." Shivdasani says in Bank of America's case, the change means the board's oversight is on behalf of shareholders. Garland says he doesn't know Massey and wants to give him the benefit of the doubt. But he wants change and hopes Massey will seriously look at who could be the next CEO.