CEO Who Dropped $16,000 On Designer Commode For His Office Not Feeling SEC's Pay Ratio Rule

John Thain's not sure why the disparity between his pay and his employees' pay is anyone's business but his own.
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As you may have heard, the Securities and Exchange recently adopted a rule that requires companies to publicly state the ratio between the pay of its chief executive officer and median compensation of its workers. One guy who's not a huge fan of the directive? Erstwhile Merrill Lynch CEO (turned CIT CEO) John Thain, who was fired from Mother Merrill following Bank of America's 2008 acquisition of the firm, in part because he made the decision to spare no expense redecorating his office in the style of Louis XIV chic-- an interior design exercise that included $90,000 area rugs, $1,500 garbage cans, and $20,000 light fixtures, the optics of which didn't looks so great at the time.

The new rule “undercuts” the SEC’s credibility because investors don’t care about such gaps, Thain said. “This is just a purely populist, political move and it’s not of benefit to shareholders,” Thain said in the interview. “Why don’t we disclose what the top baseball player makes versus the guy who sells hot dogs in the stadium?”

Thain Says Unregulated Lenders to Probably Cause Next Crisis [Bloomberg]

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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]

Bill Gross Is Not The Only One Who Feels Fat

Are your pants getting a little tight? Have you become convinced mirrors have a personal vendetta against you? Are you too distracted by the rolls spilling over your pants to trade? Do you find yourself veering off course in your letters to investors to talk about your love handles? Is it only a matter of time before you lose your firm billions and/or take down the entire market because your fingers are so big they span four keys each on the keyboard? Do you want to do something about it but are repulsed by the idea of healthy eating and exercise and also know yourself well enough to realize that there is no way you're going to be able to stay strong if everyone around you is eating delicious fried food at lunch and sooner or later you, a usually pretty mild-mannered guy, will be leaping across a row of Bloomberg terminals and threatening to kill a coworker (and meaning it) unless he hands over Ho Ho now? Then round up your tubbiest colleagues and tell them they're in for a real treat. Eric Helms, who founded the four-year-old Cooler Cleanse company with the actress Salma Hayek, says office cleansers now make up 30 percent of his business, and in the last year he has hired three customer-service employees just to handle the details of them. He said there has been a “huge increase in popularity” of cleansing with co-workers in the last year, which he credits to juice diets being more mainstream. “Everyone knows someone who’s done one, and they realize they’re a lot easier to do with colleagues during the workweek,” he said. “People want to indulge” — not sip celery — “on weekends.” Recent six-juice-a-day-dieters include employees at Merrill Lynch and the Carlyle Group, she said. In May, Citigroup began offering BluePrintCleanse in some of its Manhattan cafeterias, a spokeswoman said...About two-thirds of cleanse clients over all are women, but corporate cleanses “commonly skew toward men, especially traders, investment bankers and lawyers,” said Jina Wye, director of sales and marketing for BluePrintCleanse, founded in 2007 by two former Hudson Hotel bartenders looking to swap their poisons. (Mr. Helms said 90 percent of his male customers are part of groups.) Ms. Wye said: “These Type-A men have an all-or-none perspective. If they’re going to commit, they do it whole hog.” Most popular among male en masse cleansers: the Excavation cleanse, described on the Web site as “the most intense.” And if you want to really crank things up a notch, consider gauging interest in a group colonic to top things off. Cleansing From Cubicle To Cubicle [NYT] Related: I’m afraid I might tell her to buy a gun and just shoot me before the fat and the cellulite strike again.

Bank Of America Investors Still Don't Feel Properly Compensated For Having Merrill Lynch Rammed Down Their Throats

Remember in 2008, when Ken Lewis was all, "Oooh, wait, I don't know about this Merrill Lynch thing" and tried to back out of buying the bank? And Hank Paulson threatened to stuff him in a meat locker if he did so Ken Lewis said okay, fine, I'll do it? BAC investors are still upset about that. Bank of America directors’ $20 million settlement of investor lawsuits alleging the bank overpaid when it bought Merrill Lynch & Co. amounts to just 4 percent of the board’s $500 million in insurance coverage and is inadequate, lawyers objecting to the accord said. Attorneys for Bank of America shareholders suing in Delaware over the $50 billion acquisition of Merrill Lynch have asked a judge in that state to keep their claims alive even though a federal judge in New York is considering a $20 million settlement of almost identical suits brought by other bank investors. If that accord is approved, it could wipe out the Delaware claims. “The proposed settlement is grossly inadequate and represents only 0.4 percent of the value of the $5 billion derivative claims that the Delaware Derivative Plaintiffs have been vigorously pursuing,” lawyers for the Delaware investors said in a Delaware Chancery Court filing late yesterday. The settlement also amounts to “only 4 percent” of available insurance, they said. Disgruntled shareholders contend the board and former Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis misled them about the brokerage firm’s losses leading up to the buyout and should have pulled the plug on the deal. Lewis, who left Bank of America in 2009, is now chairman of Chicago-based LaSalle Bank NA. [Bloomberg]