This morning Wachovia shocked everyone by unceremoniously firing Ken Thompson, the ambitious corporate leader who wanted to make Wachovia into a domestic version of Citigroup. He might wonder if he succeeded too well, now that he has met the same fate of Citigroup's one-time head, Chuck Prince.
So what will Thompson do now that he's been tossed out for over-promising and under-delivering? We'd like to suggest that Ken take his cues from some of the other Wall Street kings who recently lost their thrones.
Jimmy Cayne - Bear Stearns
Jimmy Cayne was forced to resign as CEO of Bear Stearns in January. At least until Friday, he kept an office in Bear Stearns, prompting legendary trader to derisively comment that he really shouldn't be coming into the office anymore since he didn't work there anymore. We're not sure what he's doing today. Perhaps he's playing bridge.
Stan O'Neal - Merril Lynch
Stan O'Neal fell in October, amidst outsized mortgage-related losses and news that he had discussed the idea of the merger with Wachovia without consulting Merrill's board or seeking approval from Merrill's powerful brokerage arm. He's now on Alcoa's board but has otherwise kept a low profile.
Chuck Prince - Citigroup
After years of underperformance and calls for Citi to be dismantled, the end came for Chuck Prince when the mortgage mess saddled Citi with billions of losses. Like Cayne, Prince keeps an office, assistant, and car and driver at Citigroup. He sits on the board at Johnson & Johnson and is a trustee of the Juilliard School and the Weill Cornell Medical College.
What Happens to CEOs After They Fall? [American Nonsense]