08 February 2010

John Thain - a wastebasket case

The disgraced former head of Merrill Lynch has a new job. Thain used TARP (US taxpayer bailout money) money immediately after getting bailed out and merging with Bank of America - he spent 1.2 million dollars on reburbishing his office with taxpayer money - including buying a $1200 wastebasket and an $ 87,000 carpet (technically, the spending occurred a bit before the TARP money was received). Here is a full list.

Thain will now head another beneficiary of TARP money - the CIT Group. A Financial Times piece states:

Asked if he had learned any lessons from Merrill, Mr Thain said: “Fixing these kinds of financial problems is generally more difficult and takes more time than you think, because you keep uncovering new problems.”

Mr Thain will be paid a salary of $500,000 and receive 180,000 shares of restricted stock, worth $5.5m at current prices, that vest over several years.

Wow - some more TARP money for the rich bankers. I wonder if he will buy a diamond studded wastebasket this time round to fix the problems at CIT. Difficult, yes, impossible, no.

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