John Thain Is the New Villain of Wall Street


It's official: Former Merrill Lynch CEO, John Thain, the man once credited with "revolutionizing" the New York Stock Exchange and Goldman Sachs, is the new most-hated man on Wall Street. Across the board this week, coverage of his $1.2 million office redecoration and his subsequent forced resignation was infused with disgust. In review, briefly:

• "Mr. Thain's behind-scenes-lobbying for his own bonus turned into a public embarrassment. Most Wall Street chief executives, under fire for big mortgage losses, went without bonuses in 2008. But Mr. Thain lobbied his board's compensation committee for a multimillion dollar bonus, arguing that he helped repair Merrill and had engineered the sale to Bank of America." [WSJ]

• "This was symbolic of a pattern that has developed on Wall Street over this past decade of more and more extravagant, more and more lavish, more and more one-upmanship in all of these visible symbols. This may be the last vestige of a culture that we’re not going to see for many years to come.” [Bloomberg]

• "on par with Dennis Koslowski's shower curtains and Steve Schwarzman's stone crabs." [The Real Deal]

• Thain is "a national laughingstock." [Portfolio]

• Even Obama got in a dig today when talking about the stimulus package: "Taxpayer money should not go toward renovating offices." [DealBreaker]

• Oh, and he'll only get a "modest" $1.5 million in severance. [Investment News]

Somewhere, Richard Fuld is sighing with relief.

Related: The Brain In Thain [New York Magazine]

All Intel Posts on John Thain