With the news today that Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal is, at his board’s strong urging, negotiating his exit from the brokerage firm, speculation has inevitably turned to who will be the next CEO. Larry Fink of Blackrock? John Thain? Greg Fleming?
Oh, ick. A more gray and boring list of conflicted candidates you could hardly generate. Two insiders, and one ex- exchange political operative. Yeesh, some choice.
What Merrill needs is someone with fresh ideas, someone more telegenic, someone with less subprime baggage …. hmmm, me! I have no specific ideas about what I would do at Merrill, so I have that blankness going for me. Okay, I would like free lunches and massages at Mother Merill, and maybe a Bloomberg for my Dad. And, while I promise I won’t try to sell the company without asking my board first, I will really want to try to sell it: That $250-million in the offing for a change in control is too much to pass up. Sorry.
Me for Merrill CEO. Feel free to email the latter suggestion to Merrill, or just write me in at this WSJ poll. As an aside, too bad that Stephen Colbert already has Vladimir Putin locked up as his running mate, otherwise I’d name him COO.