No bonus for Merrill Lynch CEO

By John O'Brien | Dec 9, 2008


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Merrill Lynch will not pay its CEO a $10 million bonus, much to the delight of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The company, which will soon become part of Bank of America, announced Monday that CEO John Thain would not get the $10 million bonus it was reported Merrill Lynch's Board was considering, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Cuomo has been critical of Wall Street investment firms that benefited from the recent federal bailout, arguing that taxpayer funds should not be used for executive bonuses.

"Utilizing Merrill's own criteria, a bonus of this size appears unjustified," Cuomo said in a Monday letter to the company. "In terms of performance, Merrill has reported losses for every quarter this year and has lost more than $11 billion for the year as a whole.

"Indeed, Merrill's decision to be taken over by Bank of America seems to have been the only thing that saved Merrill from collapse. Clearly, the performance of Merrill's top executives throughout Merrill's abysmal year in no way justifies significant bonuses for its top executives, including the CEO."

Cuomo had also written the company on Oct. 29. He has pressured companies like American International Group, which recently announced it will limit its executive pay package and freeze the salaries of and eliminate bonuses for seven top executives.

Four other Merrill Lynch executives will not receive 2008 bonuses, the WSJ report stated.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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