Serving as CEO is risky business. Just ask a few former top executives at Wall Street firms.
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MER) chairman and CEO Stanley O’Neal resigned today. Merrill Lynch board member Alberto Cribiore has been named the interim CEO. Cribiore will also head the search for a new CEO.
There is little doubt that pressure from the board facilitated his departure after Merrill Lynch announced its biggest quarterly loss in its history,
According to Forbes,
“The announcement capped days of speculation about O'Neal's future as chief executive of Merrill, which is reeling from its outsized exposure to credit derivatives and subprime debt. Last week, Merrill stunned Wall Street by reporting $8.5 billion in write-downs, far greater than it had forecast just weeks before, and its biggest ever quarterly loss.”
O'Neal is the highest-profile executive but not the first CEO to lose his job this year in the aftermath of the sub-prime meltdown. That honor goes to Peter Wuffli, CEO of UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) who abruptly resigned in July after his firm suffered substantial losses from sub-prime mortgage holdings and was compelled to shut down its Dillon Read hedge fund unit.