It broke this weekend that Stanley O’Neal is out at Merrill Lynch.

Risk-Taker’s Reign at Merrill Ends With Swift Fall
Published: October 29, 2007

The six-year reign of E. Stanley O’Neal at Merrill Lynch has been one of contradictions. He was a loner in an industry that places a premium on relationships. And he pushed Merrill into risky investments despite his experience as chief financial officer, where assessing risk was one of his responsibilities.

Now after an $8.4 billion write-down and an unauthorized merger approach to a rival bank, Wachovia, Mr. O’Neal has lost the confidence of his board and is expected to resign as chairman and chief executive as early as today.

Directors, having decided Mr. O’Neal should leave, met through the weekend to determine who should succeed him.

Rest of article here.

But, don’t feel too bad for Mr. O’Neal:

The Price of Any Departure Will Be at Least $159 Million
Published: October 27, 2007

Merrill Lynch’s directors may be weighing E. Stanley O’Neal’s future, but one thing is already guaranteed: a payday of at least $159 million if he steps down.

Mr. O’Neal, the company’s chairman and chief executive, is entitled to $30 million in retirement benefits as well as $129 million in stock and option holdings, according to an analysis by James F. Reda & Associates using yesterday’s share price of $66.09. That would be on top of the roughly $160 million he took home in his nearly five years on the job.

Rest of article is here.

Now, that’s what I call getting P-P-P-PAID! They could give me a pink slip in a nanosecond with that kind of severance check in the envelope.

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