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Paying Big Bonuses Exposes Wall Street’s CEO Succession Failure

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Eight days before Christmas, Kenneth D. Lewis took the stage for his last public act as chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp. Hundreds of his workers watched from red velvet seats in Charlotte, North Carolina’s McGlohon Theater, a former Baptist church with tall stained-glass windows and a Byzantine dome.

Lewis, in his usual gray suit, white shirt and tightly knotted red tie, stood to present Brian T. Moynihan, 50, the man who would succeed him as head of the biggest U.S. bank.