Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain is no friend of Ken Lewis, the outgoing chief executive of Bank of America. Thain worked with Lewis last year to engineer the merger of Merrill and BofA, but was kicked to the curb shortly after the deal was complete and almost instantly turned into the fall guy for the messy merger, at least in the version of events that Lewis recounted to analysts, reporters, and government officials.
But now Lewis is heading out the door and Thain is feeling "vindicated," which explains why the Post reports he spent yesterday "quietly celebrating" Lewis' resignation. (That's not to be taken lightly. Considering Thain has been confused with a robot in the past, the idea of him actually celebrating—even quietly—is saying something.)
Payback wasn't the only thing on Thain's mind, though. He's also hoping Lewis' downfall helps restore his own rep:
Sources stressed that Thain doesn't harbor ill will toward Lewis, but instead is hoping a fallen Lewis will help Thain, the former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, rehabilitate an image that has sustained significant damage in the wake of the controversial merger.
It's just a shame that Lewis didn't decide to make this move a couple of months ago. If he had, Thain might have had a legitimate shot at the top job at Morgan Stanley and all these fine pieces of furniture would already be on order. Sigh.