Banker Bailout: Thousands Unemployed

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Sean Evers
October 20, 2008

Merrill Lynch & Co. Chief Executive Officer John Thain said he expects “thousands” of job losses from the bank’s $50 billion takeover by Bank of America Corp.

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Most of the cuts will fall in information technology, operations and “corporate functions,” Thain, 53, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Dubai today. Jobs in the fixed income and commodities divisions won’t be eliminated after the deal, he said.

“We haven’t mapped it out in terms of actual number of people, but we are committed to saving $7 billion across the combined platforms, and that will be a challenge,” Thain said. “Between our two companies it will be clearly thousands of jobs.”

Thain turned to Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis last month after a crisis of confidence in Wall Street firms forced Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. into bankruptcy and raised speculation Merrill could be vulnerable. The firm has already cut more than 5,000 jobs in the past 18 months, taking its headcount to about 60,000, in an effort to rein in costs as credit markets froze.

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