John Thain

John Thain’s Favorite Part Of Merrill

One thing we’ve noticed recently is that the chorus of dissenting voices inside of Merrill Lynch has quieted in recent months. In the weeks after John Thain replaced Stan O’Neal as chief of Merrill, the securities firm was bitterly riven as executives scrambled for authority (and, of course, money…always money) under the new regime. But by all accounts Merrill is a quieter, happier place these days.
This is a testament to the effectiveness of Thain’s leadership. But we wanted to know: how did he do it? After the jump, we explain why we think something Thain said on Wednesday indicates what happened.

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At a gathering of Wall Street dealmakers yesterday Merrill Lynch chief executive John Thain said he hopes the Federal Reserve will continue to permit securities firms to borrow from a new Fed facility launched amidst the implosion of Bear Stearns. We couldn’t help but notice, however, that Thain seemed a bit worried that the Fed isn’t going to keep the window open. To paraphrase a popular saying on Wall Street, “hoping” the Fed window stays open is not a strategy.
“I think it should stay available to the banks and investment banks — the primary dealers. It’s important that it does stay available,” Thain said to the audience at the Wall Street Journal dealmakers conference at the posh Pierre Hotel in Manhattan.
It had been widely assumed that the facility would be continued after its scheduled expiration in September. But recently opinions have shifted, with some reading the recent warnings from several Fed officials as indicating the window will be closed. What’s more, the investment banking community is said to be split on whether they should have continued access to the window. Goldman Sachs is said to be leaning toward opposing a move to make the borrowing facility permanent, and Lehman is said to support the move. Morgan Stanley reportedly takes a middle position, wanting to wait to see the kind of regulation that would accompany the window.
This is the first time we know of that a securities firm has gone on record with its support of keeping the window open. Thain’s decision to take this stance seems to indicate that he is taking seriously the idea that the Fed will not keep the facility open beyond September.

Merrill’s Thain Urges Fed To Extend Lending Deadline To Brokers
[Dow Jones]

Merrill CEO wants ongoing Fed access, rules reform

victoriathain.JPGMerrill Lynch CEO and amateur beekeeper John Thain’s daughter, Victoria, was robbed last Friday. The thieves apparently entered the Duke junior’s apartment via bedroom window, stole $9,000 worth of stuff including her wallet, camera, and TV, and exited through the front door. Run of the mill burglary or a strategic hit from one of the many enemies daddy’s racked up over the years? The fact that nothing was taken from any of Victoria’s roommates seems to imply the latter. Suspects include: Jon Corzine, Stan O’Neal, bears and vegans, which is to say—Dan Loeb. Either way, she should thank her lucky stars that the phantom defecator couldn’t get the funds together for a trip down South.
Earlier: Presented Without Comment
Thief lifts goods from student’s apartment [The Chronicle]

Presented Without Comment

jt hs.JPG

I Knew It

“Thain is also a beekeeper, and used to keep hives in the backyard of his Rye, New York, estate…In his time as a beekeeper he was only stung once. ‘They don’t sting unless you aggravate them,’ he says.”

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Memories of Harvard: The John Thain hogtie

Everything about this is so wrong we almost feel guilty just linking to it. Almost.

Thain Responds

I am getting tired, really getting tired, of these golfing cocksuckers.” [2:45]
Earlier: Merrill Lynch Has Made A Terrible Mistake

  • 14 Nov 2007 at 4:29 PM
  • CEO

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.

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