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By Peter Rudegeair
Oct 1 (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp said it named Chief Executive Brian Moynihan as chairman of its board, effective immediately.
He succeeds Charles "Chad" Holliday, the former chief executive of the chemical company E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co , who served as the bank's chairman for more than four years.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said Jack Bovender, the former chief executive of hospital operator HCA Inc and a member of the bank's board since August 2012, will become its lead independent director.
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.
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.
Moynihan's election to board chairman makes Citigroup Inc the only large U.S. bank to have separate chairman and chief executive roles. JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon survived a 2013 shareholder vote to oust him as chairman of the board following its $6.2 billion "London Whale" trading scandal.
Bank of America's shares were up slightly at $16.86 in extended trade. They closed at $16.82 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
Reporting by Peter Rudegeair, Krishna Chaithanya and Anil D'Silva; editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Gunna Dickson