John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, who commandeered the brokerage firm’s sale to Bank of America and then was axed by BofA CEO Ken Lewis in January, resurfaced to redeem his reputation. According to today’s NY Post, in Thain’s recent media appearances, the executive has shared that he’s ready to run another public company, “something many observers say is a not-so-subtle hint that he's available to be BofA's next CEO,” after Lewis retires at the end of the year.
Thain had a lot of explaining to do after he got state and federal guff for inadequately disclosing details of the Bank of America deal, and then there was the $1.2 million he spent (and then paid back) to redecorate his Merrill office, and the chair throwing incident. According to Reuters, Thain told the press, “he does not think he has ever lived ‘particularly excessively,’ and “though he owns five BMWs, there are six drivers in his family, he said.” Addressing the NYT’s January story that described Thain throwing a chair against a conference room wall and shattering a glass panel in anger last year, the out of work exec says that was “100 percent made up.” According to Reuters, he added, ‘“Do I seem like a guy who throws chairs? That conference room doesn't even have a glass wall.”’ Well, Thain did look particularly fierce as a highschool wrestler.
In other news, a proposed 0.25 percent tax on over-the-counter derivatives transactions and stock trades is a hard sell to key lawmakers in the House and will likely die in the Senate, says Reuters. The proposal could raise $150 billion per year, which lawmakers say would go to reducing the deficit and go towards job-creating measures like road construction. It seems like a tiny tax, but for traders and investment managers who trade frequently, it could add up to quite a bundle. Furthermore, House speaker Nancy Pelosi says any tax imposed on financial transactions like this one would have to take effect internationally to prevent Wall Street jobs from moving overseas.