G. Kennedy Thompson

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G. Kennedy "Ken" Thompson (born November 25, 1950) is an American businessman who was previously chairman, president, and CEO of Wachovia Corporation, formerly First Union Corporation, from 2000 through 2008.[1] First Union Corporation acquired Wachovia Corporation and changed its name to Wachovia in September 2001 after fending off a hostile takeover attempt by SunTrust Bank. Thompson succeeded Edward E. Crutchfield in 2000, who stepped down due to health reasons. Previous positions at First Union included vice chairman of the corporation and head of Global Capital Markets; president, First Union-Florida; senior vice president and head of First Union Human Resources; president, First Union Georgia.

Thompson previously served as president of the Federal Reserve Board's Federal Advisory Committee.[2]

Thompson serves on the Boards of Directors Florida Rock Industries, Inc., (NYSE) and Atrium Health[citation needed]. Professional affiliations include Board member, Financial Services Roundtable; vice chairman and board member, New York Clearing House; member, Financial Services Forum, The Business Council. Following his very narrow re-election with 55% of the shareholder vote, it was announced in April 2013 that Thompson would step down from the Hewlett-Packard (HP) board. [3]

Highly engaged in community work, Thompson's involvement includes being a member of the board of trustees, Wake Forest University; board member, Teach For America, North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte Latin School, YMCA Metropolitan board, United Way of Central Carolinas, Inc. (2003 Board Chairman), Charlotte Institute for Technology Innovation (Charlotte Institute) and co-chair, Advantage Carolina.

Thompson was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He holds a B.A. in American Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar, and an M.B.A, Wake Forest University. [4]

In 2006, under Thompson's leadership, Wachovia acquired GoldenWest for approximately $26 billion, at the peak of the real estate market.

In 2010, Wachovia settled out of court a case in which it allegedly laundered over $378 billion in cash and traveler's checks from Mexican drug cartels in the years 2004 - 2006, during Thompson's tenure as CEO. Terms of the settlement included a $110 million forfeiture and a $50 million fine. [5]

Thompson was pushed out of Wachovia Bank (WB) on June 2, 2008, as head of the nation’s fourth-largest bank, becoming the latest financial services executive to be ousted amid turmoil in the U.S. housing market.[citation needed] Thompson will not receive any incentive pay for the 2008 fiscal year, but according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he will get a severance of $1.45 million and accelerated vesting of $7.25 million in restricted stock. Thompson had served the company for 32 years.

Lanty Smith replaced Thompson as interim CEO. On July 10, 2008 Robert K. Steel, the former Treasury Undersecretary and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive, took over as CEO of Wachovia Corp. However, Wachovia only survived for two more months before it was forced to merge with Wells Fargo.


While CEO of Wachovia in 2007, G. Kennedy Thompson received a total compensation of $15,653,559, which included a base salary of $1,090,000, a cash bonus of $0, stocks granted of $12,351,369, and options granted of $1,925,933.[6]