DLS Consulting

Stop it, Stop it now!!!

More revelations about the abuse of power that John Thain used at Merrill Lynch to acquire $1,400 waste baskets and spend more than a million dollars to re-decorate his office makes me want to vomit. When I think about the times when I was challenged as a Merrill Lynch manager to fire unproductive senior financial advisors who didn’t produce some arbitrary sales figures, I now wish I had the power clean out our executive offices from the people who just don’t get it. Let’s stop hiding this type of behavior behind the mask of terms like “corporate governance” or “executive compensation” when the real terms are greed, entitlement, and elitism. As much as I believe the capitalist system is the best, it will only work with vigilance and a balance of power among all stake holders.

We have heard that it is time for change from the new administration of President Obama and that is his political mantra. But inside of many public corporate boardrooms is the need for sobering up from the drunkenness of power and greed that has characterized the past ten to fifteen years. Executives in these offices have to know the gig is up! Compensation consultants and executives alike must STOP this insanity and stop it now! There is no rationalizing the outrageous compensation packages that are being foisted on their shareholders and all shareholders must start voting on a more informed basis to guard against it. It may be true that Thain’s decorating allowance was approved long before TARP funds were even in existence. But that will not cut it with me since it was also known that troubled times were ahead and the firm had placed hiring freezes throughout the company. To demand, expect or to accept funds under these circumstances is unacceptable.

What could have happened if this got a “Hollywood script” and Al Pacino was the CEO? The CEO might have said, “We could hire 40 more support people with that money and keep the old furniture that has only a $500 waste basket.” What would the newly hired support people do? Of course they would man the phones to explain to clients why their company stock is going down but the number of executive limos is going up. Oh yes, speaking of limos, we could also hire 5 more drivers to wheel around town or help us get to the corporate jets to go to Washington to get more TARP money!


Luke 12:15 (RSV) “And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Monday Morning Message Sent 1/26/09


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