Ding ding ding! It's another victory for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a.k.a. the Bonus Buster. Following in the footsteps of Goldman Sachs, AIG, and (maybe?) Citigroup, each of whom gave up bonuses for top executives this year, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and two other Morgan Stanley execs have "decided" to forgo their bonuses this year, the second year in a row for Mack. Whether the threatening letters they received from the A.G. this fall had anything to do with their decisions is unknown, though we feel certain Cuomo will take the credit for it. But the timing of Mack's gesture, which comes on the heels of the news that Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain is seeking $10 million for services rendered, suggests it was more about self-preservation. Thain's demand was not especially warmly received, considering that the company lost $11 billion this year and is about to embark on massive layoffs as it merges with AIG; over at the World Financial Center, employees are still picking pieces of Thain's testicles out of their hair. By giving up his bonus, Mack, who took home more than $40 million back in 2006 and doesn't need it anyway, can avoid a similar fate. He can, like the other executives, look selfless, like he's Doing the Right Thing. And he can enjoy the use of his nethers, at least until January.
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