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Reaction to Ken Lewis' departure

"That just leaves question marks that we'll be waiting for the answers on….Bank of America has been a great corporate citizen over the years and has helped make Charlotte the city that it is." - Tim Belk, CEO of Belk Inc. and current Charlotte Chamber chairman

"Ken Lewis's resignation as CEO is the overdue but inevitable result of the overwhelming shareholder opposition registered at Bank of America's 2009 annual meeting. … The onus is now on the board of directors to engage with shareholders to name a successor who can quickly restore the bank's credibility with investors, regulators and Congress." - William Patterson, executive director of the CtW investment group, which campaigned against Lewis' re-election to the board

"It's going to take time for the dust to settle, but it's not good news for Charlotte or North Carolina. … I hate to say that." – Tony Plath, finance professor at UNC Charlotte.

"I'm very confident that Charlotte will remain standing tall, regardless of who the next CEO is." – Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory

"Even as he built a global enterprise, Ken Lewis kept his eye on the city he calls home, providing consistently strong local philanthropic leadership." – Michael Marsicano, president and CEO of the Foundation for the Carolinas

"Ken Lewis followed in the shoes of Hugh McColl. Ken Lewis was a different kind of leader. He had a different style." – Bob Morgan, Charlotte Chamber president, noting he thinks Lewis' acquisitions will one day prove successful.

"Our investigation has uncovered troubling facts about Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, and Mr. Lewis was at the center of this controversy. We hope that Bank of America's new leadership will quickly repay American taxpayers and help us finally resolve unanswered questioned about this merger." – Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns, who heads the House committee that is investigating the Merrill deal

"I guess it doesn't surprise me he's retiring after all the bank has been through. A lot of what happened, I'm not sure he had any choice." – Justin Markel, 40, an unemployed real estate appraiser, who said he believes Lewis was pushed into some bad decisions by the government and the bank's board.

"A change will be more than welcome in a lot of people's eyes. I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. I think this is going to put people's hearts at ease, actually, their hearts and their pocketbooks." – Bart Noonan, 38, a manager at Fuel Pizza Café

"The next CEO coming in, he'll have knowledge of what happened on the other guy's watch and try to avoid it. It's good for Charlotte." – Jessie Hardison, 58, supervisor of security for the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

"I think Lewis was, for the bulk of his tenure, the right man at the right time for the right job. He grew the bank from nothing to write home about to the biggest bank in the country. It's kind of hard to see (his tenure) end on a low note, but that's business." – James Early, analyst at The Motley Fool

"Look, if you believe Ken Lewis' story, which I don't, Ken Lewis' story is that regulators pressured him to do something that he thought was against the shareholders' interests (in buying Merrill Lynch) but he felt compelled to do it anyway. That's unacceptable for any CEO of any public company. That's when you stand up to regulators and say, 'Sorry, my first obligation is to shareholders … and if you want me to resign then I'll be happy to resign and go explain why to the press." –Michael Farr, president of the Farr, Miller & Washington investment firm in Washington, D.C.

"Regardless of Ken Lewis' departure, the company and its executives still need to be held accountable for the harm done to investors and retirees." – Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, who is helping lead shareholder lawsuits against the bank

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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