Turmoil At The Top


There is turmoil right now at the top of Wall Street's most esteemed banks, the pillars of our country's financial system. Plunging values of securities linked to the deflating housing market has exposed the banking CEOs that didn't move quickly enough to protect their firms from these bad loans.

At Merrill Lynch (MER), Stan O'Neal was ousted this week after announcing an $8.4 billion write down -- the biggest in the history of Wall Street. A successor has yet to be named.

At Citigroup (C), Chuck Prince came under fire as the shares fell to their lowest level in 4 years on fear the country's largest bank will need to cut its dividend to cover losses.

And at Bear Stearns (BSC), maverick leader Jimmy Cayne woke up to a story in the Wall Street Journal Thursday morning that alleges he spent most of the summer credit crisis at the bridge table and on the golf course.

What's the trade when new leaders are called in to clean up this mess on the Street?

CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino joins the panel for this conversation. Following are excerpts.


Gasparino believes the ouster of Chuck Prince is imminent. I think it happens over the next couple of days, he says.

Gasparino adds it’s not terribly easy to find someone who can run Citigroup and speculates that Robert Rubin would need to step in while the company conducts a CEO search. Also, Gasparino reveals there’s speculation John Thain could get the top job.

Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch

Pete Najarian thinks Bear and Merrill would benefit most from a management change.

Gasparino doesn’t think Jimmy Cayne is going anywhere. They don’t have much of a bench, he says.

Karen Finerman feels the trade is long Goldman Sachs (GS) short Merrill. “For me, it works in either an up and down market,” she says.


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