"Why wasn't the whistle blown?" she asked during the meeting. "Where were the directors when directing was necessary?"
And shareholder George Sitka, noting that he recently read the autobiography of company founder Andrew Mellon, said Mellon "must be turning over in his grave. He might get up and walk out of it and haunt the officers of this bank."
Pearson became chairman and chief executive one week ago, replacing J. David Barnes, who resigned. The move apparently was triggered by the Mellon family's dissatisfaction with the company's performance. The family owns 13 percent of the company's stock.
Earlier this month, Mellon Bank said it would report its first quarterly loss ever. The bank reported a loss of about $60 million for the first three months. It also slashed its common-stock dividend from 69 cents to 35 cents for the second quarter.
The company blamed its losses partly on problem loans to Latin American nations and to companies in the economically depressed energy belt in the Southwest.
When Barnes announced the losses, he said that he was unable to predict when the bank would be able to turn around its financial problems.
Pearson is serving as interim chief executive until a search committee, composed of board members, finds a successor to Barnes.