Kenneth D. Lewis was relieved of the Bank of America chairmanship by shareholders Wednesday in a backlash from the highly criticized Merrill Lynch acquisition. He does, however, retain his two other titles, president and CEO.

Some see this as the beginning of the end for Lewis’ career at B of A, though shareholders saw fit to keep him on the board.

The New York Times:

Walter E. Massey will succeed Mr. Lewis as chairman, the bank said.

Earlier, at an annual meeting here that was widely viewed as a referendum on Mr. Lewis, Bank of America shareholders re-elected him to the board, along with the company’s 18 directors, by “a comfortable margin,” a spokesman said. But the vote to shear Mr. Lewis’s chairmanship raised questions about how much longer he could steer the bank as shareholder anger mounted over his handling of the contentious acquisition of Merrill Lynch at the height of the financial crisis.

Mr. Lewis has worked at the bank and its predecessors for 40 years and run it as chief executive since 2001.

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