Wachovia Names Steel Chief Executive

Wachovia Corp., the nation's fourth largest bank, has named former Treasury Undersecretary Robert Steel chief executive.

"I'm just excited to be here at Wachovia and it's a real privilege and honor to have this type of responsibility," said Steel, according to the Associated Press. "I can tell you we are going to work through the challenges in a very deliberate and focused fashion."

But excitement over the news could not keep Wachovia from overcoming disappointing earnings figures. The Charlotte-based bank said it could post a second-quarter loss of $2.8 billion as mortgage-related losses continue to pile up, adding that it had set aside $4.2 billion pretax to cover bad loans for the quarter.

"Wachovia expects to report an after-tax loss available to common stockholders of 2.6 to 2.8 billion dollars," the bank said, according to AFP. The bank plans to release second-quarter earnings on July 22.

Wachovia said it planned to pay Steel a $1.1 million annual salary, plus a bonus of up to $12 million. The bank could pay Steel an additional $15 million if he meets long-term incentives.

Steels takes over as C.E.O. after Wachovia's month-long search to replace Ken Thompson, who was shown the door after a series of miscalculations, including the purchase of Golden West Financial in 2006 for roughly $25 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Steel, a former employee of Goldman Sachs Group, has been a key liaison between the Bush administration and Wall Street since 2006. He is also a native of Durham, N.C., and chairman of the Board of Trustees at Duke University.

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