Thursday, January 22, 2009

These Guys Still Don't Get It

Former Merrill Lynch chief executive John Thain is resigning from Bank of America after CNBC reported Merill's decision to move up year end cash bonuses (totaling $3 - $4 billion) days before its acquisition by Bank of America. The move conveniently came just before Merrill was about to report $15.45 billion in fourth-quarter losses (timing is everything, eh?). Thain has also come under fire for his lavish spending, which included $1.22 million spent in redesigning his office when he took over as CEO a year ago. The office included a $35,000 commode on legs (because who doesn't need one of those). In addition, Thain's personal driver netted a cool $230,000 for his one year of service. Thain's resignation comes as Bank of America execs were meeting to discuss his future (or meeting to try to find out if they could get a commode on legs too).

The deal to acquire Merrill Lynch has generally been regarded as a colossal debacle, and has already forced B of A to request billions of dollars more in bailout money. B of A will receive an additional $20 billion in funds over and above the $25 billion they've already received.

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