The Chinese have a different animal representing each year of the Chinese Calendar.
2009 will be the year of the Ox…
Not surprisingly, 2008 has been the year of the Rat…and that has proven to be a prescient representative of the events that have taken place this year.
The failure of the banking system…and the subsequent finger pointing makes everyone involved the Rats of 2008… One of the biggest ducks in the puddle (or rats in the nest, to more precisely follow the metaphor) is Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, on whose watch the company lost $11-billion last year.
Thain is actually pushing for his $10-million bonus for the year.
Wisely, the firm's compensation committee is resisting his request and leaning toward denying the executives bonuses for this year.
Consider this timeline: Merrill's shareholders approved the securities firm's acquisition by Bank of America last Friday, which will create the nation's largest financial services company. Once the merger is done, Thain will be in charge of the combined company's global banking, securities and wealth management businesses, but will not be on the Bank of America's Board of Directors.
Hey, John: Here’s your bonus—how about you get to keep your job for another year? And as an added perk to the job, Merrill will send you to economic sensitivity training in a neighborhood near you, where people have been out of work since June…
The rationale Thain is using in justifying a $10-millino bonus: He was instrumental in averting what could have been a larger crisis at the firm by contacting Bank of America about a tie-up. Coincidentally, he performed that miracle on the same day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.
While Merrill's compensation committee agrees the takeover was in shareholders' best interest, there is the gnawing fact that other Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs aren't giving out any bonuses to their top executives.
Maybe John Thain needs to get a clue.
I would fain to let Thain go.
Thain is part of the problem of CEO’s who have become so insulated from reality that they can’t make good rational decisions in the best interest of their company.
If Thain stays, you should take your money out of Merrill in protest.
This guy is an embarrassment.
If you work for Merrill Lynch, I am sorry for you.
John Thain needs to get a grip on reality, and pull his head out of his backside, and smell what’s going on in this country right now. Taking a $10-million bonus from a company that lost $11-billion is just wrong.
Hey, John: How about you forgo the stinking $10-million this year, and let the company show only a $10.9-billion loss?
Maybe the shareholders will keep you around a little longer.