The Day When Everyone Learned About The Absurd Greed Of John Thain | Exploring Markets

The Day When Everyone Learned About The Absurd Greed Of John Thain

Just when you thought the greed on Wall Street couldn't possibly get any worse, John Thain stepped in. In the midst of the Financial Crisis, and at the same time Bank of America's Ken Lewis was begging Washington for what became $20 billion in bailout money, Thain secretly approved an accelerated bonus pool. It was worth $4 billion, and exclusively for top Merrill Lynch employees. Oh the irony: the $15 billion paid to Merrill executives in fiscal 2008 essentially matched Merrill's fourth-quarter loss.

And of course, no one will ever forget how Thain spent $1.2 million of Merrill Lynch's shareholder money to redecorate his office in early 2008. That included $87,000 for an area rug, $28,000 on curtains (shades of Kozlowski), $15,000 for a sofa, and $35,000 for a "commode on legs."