Ken Lewis has now successfully focused some of the outrage about the destruction of Bank of America (BAC) on John Thain.
Thain was the one responsible for that $15 billion loss. Thain was the one who approved $15 billion of bailout-funded bonuses. Thain was the one who spent $1.2 million decorating his office. And now, a month after the bonus and loss outrages, Ken Lewis has finally fired John Thain.
As he should have. Someone has to take direct responsibility for that loss, the taxpayer-funded bonuses, and the humiliation of Ken Lewis. And John Thain’s that man.
But don’t let this distract you from who is ultimately responsible.
No one forced Ken Lewis to buy Merrill Lynch–the decision that, more than any other, destroyed Bank of America shareholders. No one forced Bank of America to approve the $15 billion in bailout-funded bonuses Merrill just paid to its workforce.
John Thain isn’t responsible for those decisions. Ken Lewis is. If Bank of America’s board doesn’t finally acknowledge this and throw him out, the board should be thrown out, too.
See Also: Ken Lewis Should Be Fired