Former Merrill Lynch CEO quits Bank of America
John Thain resigns after meeting with Bank of America CEO. Departure follows reports that Merrill Lynch moved up year-end bonuses before merger with Charlotte-based bank closed.Posted — Updated
John Thain, former chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch & Co., resigned from Bank of America Thursday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported. Bank of America later confirmed Thain's departure.
Thain quit after a "brief" meeting with Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis, a "person familiar with the matter" told the Journal.
Merrill, which reported a $15.45 billion fourth-quarter loss, was acquired by Bank of America in a government-brokered deal the same day the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed.
According to the Journal, Bank of America "lost confidence" in Thain after Lewis "learned about mounting fourth-quarter losses" at Merrill Lynch from a transition team involved in the Merrill-Bank of America merger, not Thain.
CNBC and The Journal both reported Thain's departure, which followed news that Merrill had moved up its year-end bonuses, doling out cash just days before the merger was completed.
Bank of America last week struck a deal with the government to receive an additional $20 billion in funds as part of the Treasury Department's bank investment program. The government also agreed to backstop losses on additional assets. The investment comes after Bank of America already received an initial $25 billion as part of the program.