The stunning announcement of John Thain's departure from Bank of America ( BAC) yesterday, less than a month after merging Merrill Lynch ( MER) into the bank would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago.

After announcing the shotgun marriage of Merrill Lynch with Bank of America in September, hours after Lehman Brothers collapsed, the sterling reputation of John Thain was cemented: This was a CEO who could do no wrong.

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Vincent Farrell Jr.:
Thain Spent What?

Revelations leaking out of Bank of America in the last few days, and Thain's departure today, alter his image -- perhaps irreparably. Observers now wonder how this quiet, smart overachiever could have shown such poor judgment. After all, this is a man who rose through the ranks at Goldman Sachs ( GS), turned around the New York Stock Exchange ( NYX) and merged it with Euronext and then had headhunters and corporate boards falling over themselves offering him numerous CEO spots.

There are 5 puzzling decisions Thain has made in recent weeks that ended up being his undoing:

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