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John Thain Didn't Want To Be Compared To Erin Callan

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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.)


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]

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: Looking For A Comeback, John Thain Shops CIT [FBN]