New York Times op-ed mistress Maureen Dowd is now asking the question we asked a few days ago. Namely, “What was wrong with the office of [former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain’s] predecessor, Stanley O’Neal?”
You’ll recall that John Thain spent a million bucks to redecorate his office when he took the helm of Merrill. That included, as Dowd reminds us, “curtains for $28,000 , a pair of chairs for $87,000, fabric for a “Roman Shade” for $11,000, Regency chairs for $24,000, six wall sconces for $2,700, a $13,000 chandelier in the private dining room and six dining chairs for $37,000, a ‘custom coffee table’ for $16,000, an antique commode “on legs” for $35,000, and a $1,400 ‘parchment waste can.’
But all this was necessary, according to Thain because O’Neal’s office wasn’t usable.
“Well — his office was very different — than — the — the general décor of — Merrill’s offices,” Thain said. “It really would have been — very difficult — for — me to use it in the form that it was in.”
We asked the other day what the Hell this could mean. Was it set up like an S&M parlour? A yoga studio? A miniture golf course? Had Stan remade his office in the image of the bridge of the Starship Enterprise? Was the whole thing a big swimming pool filled with champagne? Really. We want to know. What could have made the office unusual.
“Did it have a desk and a phone?” Dowd asks, with a bit more restraint than us. She has a point. If it had those things, couldn’t Thain have done his job? And what the heck is a “parchment waste can’ anyway?