Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal is retiring effective immediately, the company announced today, shocking no one. Merrill characterized the ouster as a mutual decision, but massive subprime losses and takeover indiscretions clearly marked O’Neal for the chopping block. Terms of the exit package were not disclosed, but it's expected to total close to $200 million, the Journal reports.
O’Neal brought change to Merrill, focusing it on high-profit areas, such as bundling home loans into securities. That wound up forcing the firm to take a dizzying $8.4 billion in writedowns this quarter. O’Neal then approached Wachovia about a merger without board approval. His interim non-executive replacement is 4-year board member Alberto Cribiore.