Warren Buffett has given his backing to Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan remaining in the dual role of chief executive and chairman.
The intervention is the latest twist in the saga of Moynihan’s reign over the board, following demands from shareholders and advisers that he give up at least one of his positions. Moynihan was made chairman in October 2014.
The issue has become the most high-profile corporate governance clash in the US.
USA Today quoted a Buffett appearance on CNBC, in which he said: “If I could vote, I would vote as management suggests, which is to have Brian take on the CEO and chairman job.”
Buffett’s investment house Berkshire Hathaway is not a shareholder so has no say over Moynihan’s future, but Buffett’s view carries weight, according to the newspaper.
Two pensions funds—Calpers and Calstrs—have publicly stated they will vote against Moynihan’s twin roles at a meeting, on 22 September, citing the share price performance and difficulties the bank encountered in passing government-imposed stress tests.
Proxy advisers ISS and Glass Lewis have both said they will vote against Moynihan retaining the chairman’s role.
Technically, the vote will not be against Moynihan directly but a proposal to ratify company bylaws allowing the board to have a lead independent director when the chairman is not independent, Reuters reports.