Former Merrill CEO Thain to Speak at Hedge Fund Meeting

Nearly a year after leaving Bank of America under a cloud of controversy involving massive losses, executive bonuses, and lavish office decorating, former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain is set to speak at a hedge fund event in Greenwich, Conn.


Thain is scheduled to deliver the opening remarks at Global Alpha Forum, the hedge fund industry's annual meeting.

The summit brings together leaders from business and finance, as well as academia and non-profit groups. Its theme this year is "Green Shoots and Animal Spirits."

Thain has remained underground since leaving Merrill in January. Wall Street observers are curious to hear what Thain will say about his former employer, government bailouts of financial firms (including Bank of America), regulation of the banking industry and his outlook for the economy.

Shortly after his departure, Thain told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo the losses were unavoidable, the bonuses were justified, and that he regretted spending a million dollars to redecorate his office.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating $4 billion in bonuses given to Merrill Lynch executives just days before Bank of America shareholders approved the company's acquisition of Merrill. The bonuses were awarded as Merrill was on the way to losing $15 billion on mortgage and credit-related assets in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Congress has held hearings into the merger, questioning whether the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department pressured Lewis into making a deal to rescue Merrill.

Thain left Bank of America only 20 days after the Bank of America takeover, following a tense but brief meeting with CEO Ken Lewis. Lewis recently announced his retirement and will leave the firm at the end of the year.

There has been speculation Thain would join a private equity firm, but he has made no announcement about his future.

  • Special Report: Merrill, Bank of America, and the Economic Crisis