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BofA rewards CEO with hefty raise

Bank of America Corp. chief executive Kenneth Lewis was paid $17.5-million in 2001, his first year in the post, as the bank's stock climbed 37 percent.

Lewis, who took over the third-biggest U.S. bank in January 2001, received a base salary of $1.3-million, 33 percent more than in 2000, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was also paid a bonus of $5.2-million, $150,331 in other compensation and stock options valued by the bank at $10.9-million.

In 2000, Lewis was paid $2.6-million as Bank of America's president and chief operating officer and received no stock options. He succeeded Hugh McColl as chairman and CEO.

Beginning this year, the Charlotte, N.C., bank will pay Lewis an annual base salary of at least $1.5-million. The current employment contract expires in September 2004, according to the bank's proxy.

The company has said 70 percent of Lewis's 2002 compensation will be in company stock and 30 percent in cash, compared with a mix in recent years of 60 percent stock and 40 percent cash.

The compensation of 500 other Bank of America executives is shifting more to stock, as the company uses stock options tied to share performance to motivate its 143,000 employees.

Chief financial officer James Hance's pay in 2001 more than quadrupled to $11.4-million, according to the proxy. Edward Brown, president of the bank's global corporate and investment bank, earned $9.6-million, 45 percent higher than in 2000.

Shares of Bank of America were the best-performing of the 24 members of the Standard & Poor's composite bank index in 2001. The shares, which fell 50 cents to $68.15 in trading Monday, have risen 8.3 percent this year.

The bank's fourth-quarter income climbed 49 percent as falling interest rates boosted lending.

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