We're not sure how John Thain is feeling about being called out by the President this morning. For some background, most readers are aware of yesterday's report from CNBC's Charlie Gasparino on how Mr. Thain spent $1.2 million to renovate his office at Merrill Lynch last year. This came during a time when the firm was already on the skids and laying off employees. It appears as though President Obama saw the story too, because in comments this morning, he basically said that it is unacceptable for companies receiving government aid to be renovating 'offices and bathrooms.' President Obama must be even more surprised with the fact that he paid the same designer eight times less for his work on the White House ($100K) than Thain paid him to do his office ($837K). Since when does the government get better deals than the private sector?
John Thain could be thinking he must be pretty important if even the President of the United States is talking about him. But most likely, Mr. Thain is shaking in his boots. When the President of the United States calls out your actions as a symbol of greed and what's wrong with Wall Street, you may want to think twice about taking the Bentley when you go out 'antiquing' this weekend.
Who would have thought that Merrill Lynch would already have an ex-CEO that is less popular than Stan O'Neal? Somewhere out there, Mr. O'Neal is saying, "Thank God for John Thain!"
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