O'Neal Skates With $160 Million
What's the price for failure on Wall Street these days?
If you're Stanley O'Neal, it's, oh, about $160 million.
The ousted Merrill Lynch (MER) CEO is walking away with about that much following this week's palace coup.
Sources confirm that O'Neal leaves with about $90 million in stock, $40 million in options and another $30 million in pension and other goodies. The finer points are still being worked out. And the values change with the company's share price.Not bad for years of alleged "underperformance." Makes you wonder what Merrill would pay for a really good CEO. A spokesman for Merrill said O'Neal gets no special severance package, but he does get to keep shares and options that had not yet vested. And he gets to say that he "retired" at 56. Sure. Kind of the way Julius Caesar "retired" as dictator of Rome. O'Neal was taken out by a boardroom coup following record losses at the Wall Street bank. Merrill lost $2.2 billion during the market turmoil last quarter, after taking an $8.4 billion write-down. The news sent its shares tumbling. O'Neal then alienated allies by broaching merger talks with Wachovia Bank (WB) without first telling his own board. The knives came out last week. A whispering campaign showed board members distancing themselves from the isolated head honcho -- and implying they had been unhappy with his performance for years.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV