This is a story about greed and corruption, about blind ambition and selfishness. The merger between Bank of America and Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis is historically significant, and represents the unethical behavior of many executives on Wall Street. John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, and Ken Lewis, former CEO of Bank of America, were so focused on their own pursuit of greater compensation and power that they ignored the warning signs and understated the severity of the financial situation.
I will be writing my paper 2 on the acquisition of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America during the financial crisis, analyzing the ethics behind the negotiation between Ken Lewis (CEO of Bank of America) and John Thain (CEO of Merrill Lynch). This topic was particularly interesting to me because I worked at Merrill Lynch (and, by association, Bank of America) two years ago and had been exposed to the aftermath of the deal. Continue reading
The scene that intrigued me the most, was when Henry Paulsen invited all the CEO’s of the big banks to come together and meet at a round table to try and save Lehman Brothers. That room was full of people who together controlled a ridiculous sum of money. Yet, all I kept thinking about was how they are just human beings weighing their options and trying to make decisions that are either best for their companies, themselves or both. The CEO’s in the room included: John Mack (Morgan Stanley), John Thain (Merrill Lynch), Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan), Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs), and Vikram Pandit (Citigroup).
I will now try to write a dialogue as if I was at this round table discussion, and had the undivided attention of these CEO’s.