Ex-Merrill Lynch CEO: Whoops, I Should Have Gone To IKEA

Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain is famous for, among other things, spending $1.2 million to redecorate his office as the company was going down in flames. For some reason, Thain’s shopping spree of $87,000 area rugs, a $18,000 desk, and a $35,000 chest of drawers didn’t go over well.

“I think I could buy all of the area rugs in stock at my local IKEA for $87,000, and have enough money left over to buy all my fellow shoppers an all-you-can eat Swedish Meatball feast,” our own Ben Popken wrote back in the day. Thain, with the benefit of hindsight, now agrees.

“We decorated it in the style that Merrill Lynch offices were, which was very, very nice,” Thain said yesterday during a speech in Philadelphia. “That was a mistake, and I’m sorry that I did that. If I had that to do over again, I’d furnish it in Ikea.” His remark was met with laughter and applause at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School.

“John, stop by Ikea anytime,” said Mona Astra Liss, a spokeswoman for the retailer, known for assemble-it-yourself furniture and in-store restaurants. She offered to show “a wealth of furniture choices” for home and office, “and feed you Swedish meatballs, too.” Ikea, founded in Sweden and registered in Leiden in the Netherlands, sells a 3-drawer chest for $49.99.

See, he learns how to live on a budget now, after he’s lost his job. Just like the rest of America.


Also, we would be remiss in not posting this ode to IKEA and its music video. Enjoy.

Thain Says He Should Have Furnished Merrill at Ikea [Bloomberg]

(Photo: Andy on Flickr)