"In the light of the world we live in today..."
Ten simple words encapsulating so much complexity. John Thainexplained today why it was a mistake for him to spend over a million dollars on refurbishing his office after selling Merrill to BofA at a bargain basement price. The ground has shifted seismically he tells us; the new world order will not tolerate a shred of pomp or bombast - (let alone at $1200 trash can). Sadly this epiphany seems to have come too late for the former CEO who has now promised to refund the bank out of his own pocket. As this piece in the IHT points out, John Thain is hardly Gordon Gekko. Understated and professional, Thain was, until recently, lionized as the firm's savior and, before Merrill, as the man who brought the NYSE out of the dark ages. So why this public humiliation?
The answer is in those 10 words. 2009 is a very different place, a dark inhospitable place for bankers, brokers, and bond traders. Basically anyone wearing a suit instead of a sack cloth. Executives, like those genius CEO's who flew to Congress in private jets to lobby for a hand-out, ignore this new political reality at their peril. The angry mob is at the castle gates and their blood-lust will not be sated.
If, all this time, you were wondering who that little man was, the one who sits at the back of the meetings taking notes, the one who follows you around all the time... he's your corporate communications director. Now might be an excellent time to introduce yourself, take him for a drink and ask him what he thinks you should do next.