John Thain resigned from Bank of America today. But I really feel for John Thain's driver, who made more than a Supreme Court Justice for one year of work, according to documents dug up by Charlie Gasparino and reported at the Daily Beast. That's a job that will be hard to replace.
Thain was named CEO of Merrill Lynch in December 2007--a rocky time to start renovating the office with such staples as an $87,000 rug and an $18,000 desk, Gasparino reports.
At the time, Thain was preaching the virtues of cost control, telling employees to reduce expenses including car services, entertainment and travel. In addition to the personal expenses on his office, documents show Thain paid his driver $230,000 for one year’s work, which included the driver's $85,000 salary and bonus of $18,000, and another $128,000 in over-time pay. Drivers of top executives are often paid about half that amount.
This is the kind of behavior that most employees fear exists at the top levels of companies--far from the eyes of the everyday laborers--particularly during troubled times when layoffs and "belt-tightening" rhetoric ring freely. It's a tough receipt to read.