After engineering a two-year cost-cutting campaign that reduced
employment ranks by a third, Thomas Patrick, the firm's executive vice chairman, is retiring at the age of 60.
The decision was announced Tuesday in an internal memo. The company couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
Patrick is currently Merrill's No. 2 executive behind Chief Executive Stalnley O'Neal and played a key role in the transfer of power to O'Neal from former Merrill chief David Komansky, under whom he was chief financial officer.
Patrick played a central role in forcing out dozens of top Merrill executives and some observers reportedly believed his own departure was therefore inevitable, given lingering enmity. He was also involved in a line of tax shelters the company marketed to corporate clients in the mid-1990s that have recently drawn regulatory scrutiny.
Merrill closed Tuesday at $53.49, down 46 cents, or 0.85%.