Or so alleges country reporter Charlie Gasparino, in his new book (out tomorrow!), When Mooks Fail. According to CG, given that "both of these broads" had "a great pair of legs and an ass just begging for a pinch," the comparisons were inevitable, but were nevertheless troubling to JT.
The upcoming second-quarter earnings--or, to be more precise, losses--were much higher than expected, around $5 billion. The size of the losses was in direct contradiction to just about everything Thain had said...[and] he saw his career flash before him: there would be comparisons to Alan Schwartz, Dick Fuld, and Erin Callan. He would lose the confidence of the markets, as Bear had done and as Lehman was doing. Like the other firms, Merrill had survived on the fact that it could continue to borrow money from banks and on other investors who believed they were lending money to a company that told the truth.
Thain was becoming unhinged; during a briefing in one of his finely decorated conference rooms that had been part of the $1.2 million office spending spree, people close to the firm said he completely lost his composure when an aide informed him about the size of the losses.
Normally in tense situations like these, when he felt himself losing control, Thain would take 5, strap on a onesie and work out his issues on the mat. Unfortunately, his suit was at the cleaners, and aides had mentioned to him recently that it freaked people out a bit when he would start shadow-boxing out of nowhere in a room full of colleagues.
What Thain did isn't exactly clear, but Merrill Lynch had to replace a shattered glass panel that appeared to have been the target of the CEO's anger. (Thain later said he hadn't broken anything, though through a spokesman he said he wouldn't deny that the had lost his temper during the meeting.)