Charlotte-based Bank of America on Thursday announced Ford Motor’s top lawyer as its new general counsel.
The bank said David Leitch, 54, who is retiring from Ford, will be based in Charlotte. His appointment, which becomes effective Jan. 1, means Charlotte gains a direct report to CEO Brian Moynihan.
Thursday’s announcement, which had been expected, follows media reports this summer that said the bank was looking for a replacement for general counsel Gary Lynch. Those reports came after Moynihan in July elevated Lynch, 65, to vice chairman as part of a management shuffle that included the departure of Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson.
Leitch’s retirement from the No. 2 U.S. automaker was announced last month. He had held the position since 2005, during restructuring efforts under former CEO Alan Mulally.
Before Ford, Leitch served as deputy White House counsel for President George W. Bush and chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration. Other roles include deputy assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.
Lynch’s stepping down as general counsel follows years of steering the bank through a morass of legal problems, including a massive $16.65 billion mortgage settlement with the U.S. government last year.
Moynihan hired Lynch, a former Securities and Exchange Commission official and Morgan Stanley legal officer, in 2011 as the bank faced mounting legal troubles stemming from the financial crisis.
“Gary led our team in resolving the most complex and pressing legal issues our company has faced,” Moynihan said in a statement. “We will continue to benefit from his seasoned judgment and sound guidance.”
For Charlotte, the move gives the city five executives who report directly to Moynihan.
Lynch will remain a direct report and remain based in New York. Eight other direct reports are based in New York, Boston or Tampa, Fla.
Moynihan lives in Boston but works in Charlotte, where the nation’s No. 2 bank by assets employs about 15,000.