Jimmy We Hardly Knew Ye

The people familiar with the matter have spoken once more, which can only mean one thing: another Wall Street chief is headed for the executioners block. The Wall Street Journal’s Kate Kelly is reporting that Jimmy Cayne has started notifying to board Bear Stearns that he plans to give up the CEO desk while remaining chairman. Alan Schwartz is expected take over.
More tomorrow morning.

Bear CEO Expected to Step Down But Remain in Chairman Post
[Wall Street Journal]

  • 11 Dec 2007 at 2:13 PM
  • CEO

WSJ: Citi Expected to Name Vikram Pandit CEO


  • 14 Nov 2007 at 4:29 PM
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Merrill Lynch Makes It Official

And we’re back to Thain already.
Not that there was any doubt but it’s now official. Here’s the Merrill Lynch press release announcing that Thain takes the helm on December 1st.
“Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER) today announced that John A. Thain, chief executive officer, director and member of Management Committee of NYSE Euronext, Inc. and former president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs Group, has been appointed chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, effective December 1,” Merrill said in a statement.
Full Press Release after the jump.

Read more »

  • 27 Oct 2007 at 11:22 AM
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Stan O’Neal Weekend Watch
Update: WSJ Says He’s Done.

Red Sox Win!: They’re shipping up to Boston with the World Series trophy. Our friend Will Leitch at Deadspin said it best: “The Rockies did the best they could to make a game, or a series, out of it, but it just wasn’t happening: The Boston Red Sox were not to be denied.” We’re not going anywhere Professor Thom’s tonight but congratulations to all our lads and lasses up in the New York City embassy of Red Sox nation. (10.29.07)
Portfolio: The connection between the news media and back-room power-plays. (10.28.07)
[Editor’s note: It is 7:55. And that’s probably our last update for a while. Time to see if Colorado gets swept. Assuming the bartender at our local pub doesn’t over-serve us, we’ll check back in after the game. In the meantime, feel free to leave any updates in the comments section below or email us at If nothing new develops from the Merrill board tonight (which seems likely given the hour), we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning. ]
CNBC: Merrill’s board considered offering Stan O’Neal the position of interim CEO while they choose a permanent director. Sources close to the situation initially said that a member of the Merrill board would be named interim chairman. (10.28.07)
Bloomberg: The pile-on begins! Daniel Tully, who ran Merrill Lynch in the 1990s, calls firm’s third-quarter losses “sickening.”
WSJ: Stan has “decided to leave,” according to familiar people! (10.28.07)
CNBC: Stan O’Neal “has been ousted as chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch that much is certain,” reports Charlie Gasparino. (10.28.07)
Reuters: Blackrock boss Larry Fink says he’s unaware that he’s a candidate for the top spot at Merrill Lynch. That would make him the only one who is unaware. (10.28.07)
NYT: The Merrill board has reached a broad consensus that Stan will go, according to people briefed on the discussions. (10.28.07)

The price-tag of ousting O’Neal: $159 million. (10.28.07)
WSJ: O’Neal is expected to step down, according to someone familiar with the firm’s plans. (10.27.07)

  • 29 Aug 2007 at 12:13 PM
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CEOs – The New Proletariat

CEOs of the world, unite! Forget that CEOs make 364 times more than the average worker (not including perks and benefits) – the average PE and hedge fund manager makes 61 times that of the average CEO.
Side rant regarding sub-workers: The study, conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy (IPS / UFE), factors in part-time jobs to the average worker salary. If you take the average for a full-time non-managerial job (40k), CEO pay is a mere 270 times the average worker. It’s good to know a fairer society is only a few theoretical adjustments away.
Don’t get your guillotine mobs in a bunch though, CEOs have toned it down, from the lavish 525 times the average worker salary they made in 2000 (that was the record). Forget the fact that in 1989 CEOs made only 71 times the salary of the average worker (Reagan just paved the way for that socialist Bush). Seriously, forget it. Sleep tight knowing that people who make $40k are only imaginary, like the borough of Brooklyn, or the strange creatures adorning the cover of Barbara Ehrenreich’s diary (those aren’t unicorns).
The real story is that CEOs are being forced into exploitative contracts, lulled by the false consciousness of 5 and 44. Sure, the common worker can get coerced into an oppressive labor agreement because he needs a common wage to survive, but CEOs need a robust portfolio of high-yielding alternative investments to survive as well, at the country club. CEOs have never felt as inadequate as members of the Second Estate, partly because PE/Hedge fund managers have several more estates.
CEO pay: 364 times more than workers [CNN Money]

  • 10 Jul 2007 at 9:30 AM
  • CEO

Capital One: Hat Trick of Bad Decisions

gretzky.jpg Richard Fairbanks, the CEO, chairman, co-founder, and starting center of Capital One likens his business to a hockey game, because bad baseball metaphors are played out in his opinion. Fairbanks lives and breathes hockey. He co-owns the Washington Capitals, is a member of a full-contact rec team, coaches youth teams and drives a Zamboni to work. He lives by what he calls the Gretzky Concept, which is “go where the puck is going instead of where it is.” Unfortunately, Gretzky’s head is bleeding profusely, through a culmination of industry factors and a hat trick of bad decisions made by Fairbanks.
Fairbanks’ first goal in this hat trick was grabbing Southern consumer bank Hibernia for $4.9bn right before Katrina. The second was acquiring Northeastern commercial bank North Fork for $14.6bn right before the subprime fallout. What really got the hats on the ice was Fairbanks’ belief that he could integrate two major regional bank acquisitions in such a short period of time and face-off against established retail banking giants while battling a flat yield curve. Most North Fork branches have not been rebranded and still are not in Capital One’s central computer system. Apparently Fairbanks reads from the same bad expansion/integration playbook as retail banking giant JPMorgan, and makes equally awkward two line passes.
Last month, Fairbanks tried to mix up his lines, announcing Capital One’s first major cost cutting effort after two and half years of the company’s stock price being stuck in the neutral zone trap. The trap held.
Now, Capital One is trying to find its mojo by playing the management shuffle game, taking execs from Wachovia and Bank of America to replace the head of North Fork and commercial banking. Fairbanks commented, “We really are in the early third period of a three period game when it comes to completing my banking master plan…ok, fine, the seventh inning. We’re in the freaking seventh inning.”
Chief of Capital One Applies Hockey Strategies to Banking [New York Times]

  • 15 Jun 2007 at 4:11 PM
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Krazy KEOssmall.JPG

[click to enlarge]

  • 11 Jun 2007 at 9:11 AM
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Breaking: Qwest CEO Out!

qwestceoretires.gifQwest said this morning that chief exeuctive and board chairman Richard Notebaert plans to step down as soon as a successor is found.