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Walter E. Massey

Associated Press | 5/5/2009, 11:12 a.m.
Walter E. Massey was elected chairman of...

Walter E. Massey

Walter E. Massey was elected chairman of Bank of America Corp. by the banking giant’s board of directors last Wednesday.

The election came after shareholders voted last week to split the positions of chairman and chief executive officer at the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank. Ken Lewis had served as chairman and CEO since 2001.

The bank’s board voted unanimously to retain Lewis as the company’s CEO. He has said that he welcomes Massey’s leadership, saying in a memo to employees obtained by The Associated Press that he plans to continue to work with Massey to “drive our company forward.”

Massey was president of Morehouse College, a historically black institution in Atlanta, from August 1995 through June 2007. He has been a director of Bank of America since 1998, and serves on the board’s audit committee.

Prior to his time at Morehouse, Massey was a director of the National Science Foundation. Previous educational posts include stints as vice president of research and professor of physics at the University of Chicago, director of the Argonne National Laboratory, dean and professor of physics at Brown University, and assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois, among others.

Massey holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from Morehouse College, and earned both a master’s degree and a doctorate in physics from Washington University in St. Louis. He has also received a host of honorary degrees from prestigious institutions including Yale University, Northwestern University, Amherst College and Ohio State University.

A native of Hattiesburg, Miss., Massey and his wife, Shirley Anne, have two sons and three grandchildren.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.