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It turns out that General Counsels aren't the untouchable, super powerful figures some people think they are. A new book detailing the fall of Merrill Lynch sheds some interesting light on how swiftly things can come crashing down. Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, The Fall of Merrill Lynch and the Near Collapse of Bank of America. This verbose title is a new book by Greg Farrell, who takes readers through the life of banking general counsel Tim Mayopoulos.
Mayopoulos served as general counsel to Bank of America just hours before the company acquired Meryll Lynch under somewhat questionable circumstances. The book quotes one lawyer working on the merger which aptly sums up the chaotic scene, "um, well you are the third general counsel I have reported to today." Bank of America purchased Merrill Lynch for $50 billion in 2008.
Crash of the Titans essentially characterizes Merill Lynch executives as "so insanely self-centered" that they were unable to see how they were being swallowed up by Bank of America. When it comes to Tim Mayopoulos, the ABA Journal reports that he was "fired because he carped that those in the bank's Charlotte N.C. headquarters were underpaid as compared to their new colleges in New York offices of Merrill Lynch.
It was originally speculated that Mayopoulos was fired because he complained about merger disclosure issues. The Merger was heavily investigated by the SEC over the company's failure to disclose important information during the pre-merger period.
The book could be an interesting read for anyone interested in the inner workings of a huge corporation, especially during such a chaotic collapse.