BofA vote on Merrill purchase set for Dec. 5

Bank of America Corp. shareholders will vote on the bank's planned purchase of Merrill Lynch on Dec. 5.

The meeting, open only to the Charlotte bank's shareholders, will be at 11 a.m. at the International Trade Center in uptown Charlotte, according to regulatory papers filed Monday. Merrill Lynch shareholders, who also must approve the deal, will meet at 8 a.m. that day at Merrill's New York headquarters.

Bank of America announced in September that it would buy Merrill Lynch for $50 billion, in a deal that will make Bank of America the country's largest wealth-management firm. Though a sale was once unthinkable, Merrill has been wounded by subprime-related losses and the panic sparked by the collapse of other investment banks.

Christina Rexrode

Kovacevich to remain chairman at Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Co. said Monday that Dick Kovacevich will stay on as chairman “for an interim period” to help with the bank's purchase of Charlotte's Wachovia Corp.

Kovacevich, who led Wells through another major merger 10 years ago, had planned to step down at the end of this year, since Wells requires senior executives to retire in the year that they turn 65. But the bank's board of directors granted an exception for Kovacevich, who reached that birthday last week.

Kovacevich has been a driving force for years at Wells Fargo, where he was chief executive for nine years before ceding that position to John Stumpf last summer. Before his tenure at Wells, Kovacevich was CEO of Norwest Corp., the Minnesota bank that bought Wells in 1998 and took its name.

Wells did not say how long Kovacevich's extended chairmanship will last. When he does retire, the board expects to name Stumpf as chairman. Christina Rexrode