This whole John Thain, Ken Lewis Rumble in the Bronx has been thrilling but clearly there are lesser-known, more hilariously-named cast members to speak of. Let's start with Steele Alphin, chief administrative officer at Bank of America, and essentially Lewis's right hand guy. He also served as Thain's ambassador into the BAC world. For instance, we're told it was Alphin who set the aggregated compensation level for Merrill bonuses, and convinced Thain to change the cash/stock breakdown from 60/40 to 70/30, because it would help BAC's balance sheet (the cash coming from MER, the stock coming from BAC). Oh, and Steele's also the one who can say definitively, despite attempts to leak stories to the contrary, that Thain never asked, per se, for a $10 million bonus.
John Thain Is Ready For His Next Challenge
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. Thain, currently the CEO of a small lending outfit called CIT Group, has been quietly shopping the firm to a larger player with the goal of selling possibly to a big bank and emerging as a candidate to run the bigger company, according to investment bankers with direct knowledge of the matter. Bankers say Thain began putting out feelers to sell CIT after the firm failed in its bid to purchase ING Direct earlier in the year. “They've been shopping themselves off and on because they have virtually no deposit base and thus no low-cost source of funds to run their business,” said one banker at a major firm with knowledge of CIT’s activities. “Thain may also be putting out feelers, trying to get a drumbeat going. Who knows, but it's certain he's up to something.” Anyone want to give him a big boy bank (or something) to run? Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/business-leaders/2012/09/24/thain-shopping-cit-group-around/#ixzz27QKGqqhE Looking For A Comeback, John Thain Shops CIT [FBN]
John Thain Kept His Promise To Never Redecorate An Office To The Tune Of $10 Million Again
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, which was the hideous office of his predecessor at CIT, a place that had never met good taste. Today, however, we stand corrected. According to Fox Business News' Senior Interior Decorator Charlie Gasparino, who first rose to fame with his report on Thain's decorating spree at Merrill, JT has kept his word. "Sources tell the FOX Business Network that Thain’s new office is a low-key affair, far different than the $1.22 million renovated palace he had as CEO of Merrill Lynch that became the object of scorn during the financial crisis. ‘Lots of plastic and formica, and no expensive paintings or area rugs,’ is how one visitor described it to FOX Business. Gone are the $35,000 ‘commode on legs’ and $1400 ‘parchment waste can,’ according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter. ‘It looked like an insurance office…he seems to have learned his lesson,’ this person said.” He may have broken out in hives for the first three weeks, he may have wanted to rip the wallpaper down in a psychotic rage, he may have been serious when he came home after Day 1 and told his wife, "I may have to quit my job tomorrow," but, god damn it, he stuck to his promise and for that we should reward him. CIT GROUP CEO JOHN THAIN’S OFFICE LOOKS “FAR DIFFERENT” FROM MERRILL LYNCH OFFICE [FBN]