John Thain Was Forced To Renovate His Office At Merrill Lynch Because It Had Too Many Elliptical Machines And Not Enough Chairs

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Back in January, when CNBC's Senior Interior Decorator Charlie Gasparino really put his investigative journalistic skills to work and reported to the world that John Thain had spruced up his office at Merrill Lynch to include, among other items, a $87,784 area rug, a $25,713 Mahogany pedestal table, and a $35,115 commode, JT issued this vague statement re: what was so wrong with Stan O'Neal's office that it had to be completely redone:

Well-- his office was very different-- than-- the-- the general décor of-- Merrill's offices. It really would have been-- very difficult-- for-- me to use it in the form that it was in. And-- you know, I-- it needed to be renovated no matter what. It would have been better for me to simply-- I should have-- simply paid for it myself

Obviously this forced our hand to come to the logical conclusion that O'Neal had outfitted the place with shag rugs, a disco ball and a huge blinking sign that read "Pussy Palace." I don't know why it took so long to get this out of him, but last night while speaking at Wharton, the Thainmeister finally cleared the air. Here's what JT told the audience, according to a reader in attendance:

Since you brought it up, I'll talk about my office. I joined Merrill Lynch before we knew the world was ending. My office had a giant desk in the middle and was not configured to receive any clients or staff. There was no conference room because it had been converted into a private gym.

So Captain wasn't down with the space because it was essentially a throne room for E. Stanley and because if you're going to have a private gym, it better damn well come with a wrestling mat. But that still doesn't tell us why a George IV chair, Roman Shades, and 19th Century Credenza were necessary. Thainer explains:

We decorated it in the style that Merrill Lynch offices were, which was very, very nice.

Related

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]