An Irish American woman from the Bronx stole the show at Bank of America’s annual shareholders meeting, held last week in Charlotte, NC.
Peggy McMahon literally leapt out of her seat to speak in defense of CEO Brian Moynihan, telling another shareholder to “sit down and shut up!”
"You must not attack this fine gentleman,” she commanded, later calling him “a credit to the Irish.”
“Stand tall, Mr. Moynihan. I love you, Mr. Moynihan," she added in encouragement.
“You and my mother,” he replied, “that makes two.”
Moynihan, born and raised in Ohio, comes from a large Irish Catholic family and has roots in Kerry. He has been recognized many times in Irish America magazine’s Business 100 and in 2012 received the Leslie C. Quick Junior Leadership Award from the American Ireland Fund.
In addition to being the forum by which board members are elected, shareholder meetings are one of the only times throughout the year when executives come face to face with both their greatest supporters and their toughest critics.
In order to attend, one must hold at least one share of stock, which in the case of Bank of America is currently about $15.
McMahon, who said she was on vacation in the area, arrived at the Bank of America headquarters wearing a sundress and a straw hat adorned with a large yellow flower.
It was a series of questions from fellow shareholder Judy Koenick that angered McMahon. Koenick, who attends every meeting, has become known for her t-shirts printed with sentiments regarding Bank of America’s management and the docket number of her legal case against Merrill Lynch, which BoA acquired in 2009.
She was questioning Moynihan on the kind of light bulbs the bank uses when McMahon cut her off, yelling “Oh Jesus Christ!”
According to Adam O’Daniel of the Charlotte Business Journal who was present the room broke into laughter and applause as McMahon continued with her defense of Moynihan.
“I’d like to finish my comments without being threatened by this woman,” Koenick said, to which McMahon replied “I’ll threaten you all I want! . . . How many shares do you own? I own 22,000.”
As the discussion moved on, McMahon moved to a seat at the front of the room, next to Reverend Jesse Jackson, who is also a shareholder.
She later took the floor again, telling Moynihan, “Up the stock to a million and I’ll marry you in the morning!”
Jackson joked that he would officiate. Moynihan, charmed as he seemed to be by McMahon, is already married.
After the meeting adjourned, O’Daniel spoke with McMahon who told him that she was the daughter of an Irish immigrant father who owned five delis in New York.
She also talked to local television station WBTV.
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”