Bank of America had combined the roles of chairman and chief executive until 2009, when shareholders voted to strip then-chief executive Ken Lewis of his chairman title. Investors objected to his decision to acquire Merrill Lynch at the peak of the financial crisis, and to the fact that executives at the investment bank received big bonuses just before the deal closed, in a quarter when it lost more than $15 billion.
In 2012, the bank agreed to pay $2.43 billion to settle claims that it had withheld information from shareholders about the financial health of Merrill Lynch at the time of its purchase.
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When Moynihan succeeded Lewis in January 2010, he began shedding billions in assets outside of its main businesses to simplify Bank of America's operations and tried to resolve the legal and regulatory woes haunting the bank post-crisis. Additionally, Moynihan reworked the bank's board in response to regulatory pressure to add more directors with banking expertise.
In August, the bank agreed to pay $16.65 billion to resolve accusations that it misled investors into buying mortgage bonds that ended up going sour, putting to bed the majority of its legal issues tied to the financial crisis.