A Match Made in Hell

The New York Times takes apart John Thain and his tenure at Merrill Lynch. A dismal portrait of self-importance and self-aggrandizement, it will do more to damage Thain’s reputation than the office decorating. Just to cite a few random examples, Thain asked for $40 million in bonus for getting the Bank of America deal done; he remained disconnected from Merrill’s operations and allowed his closest lieutenants to hold the same defensive, I-didn’t-make-this-mess attitude. But for all of Thain’s faults, the story ultimately indicts Ken Lewis for taking the virus on board his own mothership:

“When you go into a deal, you hope for the best but expect the worst,” says Nancy Bush, a banking analyst. “I think Bank of America did plenty of due diligence; they just ignored what they found. They knew it was there. They just didn’t completely grapple with the fact that it could get uglier. And it did.”


For Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, Love Was Blind
New York Times; February 8, 2009

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