In February 2010, a year after he’d been fired from Bank of America Merrill Lynch for redecorating his office with $90,000 area rugs, $1,500 garbage cans, and $20,000 light fixtures, and just before he started his job as CEO of CIT Group, John Thain made a bold claim. “I think I’ll keep my office exactly the way it is,” he told Bloomberg TV. At the time, we went on record saying that there was no way Thain would stick to this pledge, because like any other junkie with a substance abuse problem– in Thain’s case, fabulous furniture– he was at the stage of the recovery process when you have no idea how truly brutal and demanding the road ahead will be. You want to overcome the demons, and you’ll certainly try, but you’re naive enough to think that you’re bigger than the drugs and it’ll happen on the first attempt. We assumed that, like most fiends, he would relapse at least once or twice, especially considering the high risk environment he was about to go into, rife with triggers, which was the hideous office of his predecessor at CIT, a place that had never met good taste. Today, however, we stand corrected. Read more »
After he was unceremoniously fired from his post at the newly formed Bank of America Merrill Lynch, for reasons that included paying out big bonuses to ML executives and decorating his office with $1,500 garbage cans, John Thain understood that he would have to recede from the limelight for a bit. Take a job at a smaller firm and keep his head down for a while. Spend more time with his honeybees. Get back to his fighting weight. Drink a raw egg for breakfast every day. Run up and down the stairs of the Met. Work in a hideously decorated space, no matter how much it hurt. Win some awards. Get his confidence back. Let people miss him. Well, Thain did all that. And now? He’s ready for you to make him an offer. Read more »
The master of ceremonies made a mistake as he named John Thain one of the year’s finest dads, introducing him as the chief executive officer of Citigroup. “Vikram Pandit will be very unhappy,” Thain said, accepting an award from Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council Inc. on June 14. “I’m actually the CEO of CIT, which is similar, but not quite the same.”…host Mark Shriver apologized for bungling his introduction of Thain, 57, a former Goldman Sachs president who has been CEO of CIT Group Inc. since February 2010. “I thought it was a misspelling,” said Shriver, senior vice president of nonprofit Save the Children. “It said CIT — I’m like, this has got to be Citi.” [Bloomberg, related]
Bank Of America Investors Still Don’t Feel Properly Compensated For Having Merrill Lynch Rammed Down Their ThroatsBy Bess Levin
Remember in 2008, when Ken Lewis was all, “Oooh, wait, I don’t know about this Merrill Lynch thing, it looks kinda bad, I don’t think I want to buy it anymore, I’m nervous [bites nails, shifts weight from one foot to the other like he has to pee]” and tried to back out of the deal? And Hank Paulson threatened to stuff him in a meat locker if he did so Lewis said okay, fine, I’ll buy it and then did, for more than one might think is reasonable to pay for a ticking time bomb? BAC investors are still upset about that. Read more »
When people think of Jonathan Alexander Thain, as people surely often do, lots of thinks come to mind. High school wrestling. Competitive bee-keeping. Masterful stewardship of Wall Street firms. $68,179 19th Century Credenzas. $35,000 commodes. $28,091 curtains. $87,784 area rugs. $1,405 garbage cans. A keen eye for interior design and fabulous taste in general. Though we knew the current CIT Group chief executive officer was a father, we probably wouldn’t have included his parenting skills on a list of his noted attributes and accomplishments, only because there are so many to mention and we didn’t know if he excelled as a dad like he did as a decorator. Apparently this represents a gross oversight because John Thain? Is a phenomenal dad. Award-winning, in fact. Read more »
“We collectively, the group of us, we should have just grabbed [Paulson and other Treasury officials] and shaken them and said, ‘Look, you guys cannot do this,’ ” Thain told FCIC interviewers in a Sept. 17, 2010 interview. “In my opinion, allowing Lehman to go bankrupt was the single biggest mistake of the financial crisis.” [Bloomberg]
The smaller but top quality Art Dealers Association of America fair, The Art Show, runs at the Park Avenue Armory until March 7. Tuesday night’s opening attracted big bucks collectors, including CIT Chairman and CEO John Thain and MoMA board president Marie-Josee Kravis. Show highlights include a two- artist hanging at Galerie St. Etienne of delicate drawings by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.
As you’re aware, John Thain took over at the only firm that would have him (kidding, he’s the best), CIT Group, earlier last month. In his first order of business, Mr. T made sure to let everyone know he will not be redecorating his office like he did at Merrill, presumably before he saw just how hideous the place turned out to be. In his second order of business, he canceled all bonuses. The news was announced on an employee-wide call yesterday, and is said to have come as a bit of a shock, as people were expecting to get their numbers this week and their money on March 16 (though I suppose you could make the argument the former was delivered on schedule, it just happens to be zero). According to Thain, 2009 was “a difficult year for CIT, and though full year results have yet to be published, there is no question losses will be in the billions. As such, and given the sensitives in Washington and the world, it wouldn’t be right to give out bonuses as planned.”
But wait, it’s not all bad!
As you’re aware, John Thain has a substance abuse problem. The substances are fabulous chaise lounges, antique desks, and curtains that cost $1,000/yard. John’s brain is wired to think he needs these things and more to perform at the top level shareholders of the companies he’s run have grown accustomed to. Obviously this isn’t a healthy addiction JT’s struggling to overcome, and clearly he’s still in the early stages of recovery, as noted by what he told Bloomberg, on the news he’d accepted the job to run CIT Group, and the executive suit that comes with the gig.
“I think I’ll keep my office exactly the way it is,” he said.
This is something addicts say in their first go at rehabilitation, when they think they’re bigger than the drugs. They want to overcome their demons, sure, but they have no idea how truly brutal and demanding the road ahead will be. It’s not realistic to say you will categorically never use again because, statistically speaking, almost everyone has at least one or two relapses, especially when put it high risk environments rife with triggers. Such as, the hideous office of one’s predecessor, which I don’t think John actually got a look at before taking the job, and certainly not prior to speaking with Bloomberg.
On the mat, in the locker-room, whatever. The point is, talks are being had, the gigs are being considered, the onesie is dry-cleaned and ready. For this moment.
John Thain, who was Merrill Lynch & Co.’s chief executive officer before being ousted a year ago, has held talks to become the head of CIT Group Inc., the commercial lender that emerged from bankruptcy last month, according to people familiar with the matter