Monday, October 29, 2007

Stanley O'Neal out at Merrill Lynch

It broke this weekend that Stanley O'Neal is out at Merrill Lynch.

Risk-Taker’s Reign at Merrill Ends With Swift Fall
Published: October 29, 2007

The six-year reign of E. Stanley O’Neal at Merrill Lynch has been one of contradictions. He was a loner in an industry that places a premium on relationships. And he pushed Merrill into risky investments despite his experience as chief financial officer, where assessing risk was one of his responsibilities.

Now after an $8.4 billion write-down and an unauthorized merger approach to a rival bank, Wachovia, Mr. O’Neal has lost the confidence of his board and is expected to resign as chairman and chief executive as early as today.

Directors, having decided Mr. O’Neal should leave, met through the weekend to determine who should succeed him.

Rest of article here.

But, don't feel too bad for Mr. O'Neal:

The Price of Any Departure Will Be at Least $159 Million
Published: October 27, 2007

Merrill Lynch’s directors may be weighing E. Stanley O’Neal’s future, but one thing is already guaranteed: a payday of at least $159 million if he steps down.

Mr. O’Neal, the company’s chairman and chief executive, is entitled to $30 million in retirement benefits as well as $129 million in stock and option holdings, according to an analysis by James F. Reda & Associates using yesterday’s share price of $66.09. That would be on top of the roughly $160 million he took home in his nearly five years on the job.

Rest of article is here.

Now, that's what I call getting P-P-P-PAID! They could give me a pink slip in a nanosecond with that kind of severance check in the envelope.


Attorneymom said...

Mr. Oneal will be alright.

Brian said...

I have little sympathy for anyone who gets that kind of money.

There should be a cap on how much these guys can walk away with. It seems that O'Neal (and the other big company CEO's) are being rewarded for their bad decision-making. Decision-making is the main reason that they are there... yet when they make bad decisions, they get rewarded....we see it time and time again. Even CEO's that violate ethics, break the law, etc.... they still get over like fat rats.

He is basically walking away with the profits that have been accumulated from the high interest (and foreclosure and resale) resulting from the bad loans that were issued in the subprime market. While people are out of their homes due to the jacked up interest rates, he walks away with the benefits from those high rates as well as the fees charged to working class to middle class folks who are struggling everyday to make a living for their families.

Merrill Lynch should be using that money to provide funds to banks and other that the people who lost or are about to lose their homes can get some kind of refinancing.

I know $150 million wouldn't make much of a difference... but it's a question of principle and good ethics (and in a way PR as well.... it's about how an organization deals with people). Sometimes in order to become successful and stay successful, organizations have to look at more than just the bottom line.