Friday, January 23, 2009
Britain has gone Oscar-crazy. Macro Man is utterly oblivious to "celebrity culture", and while he once memorized every winner of the Heisman Trophy whilst in high school, he couldn't tell you a single Oscar winner last year other than that for Best Song. Regardless, the papers are full of pictures of Kate Winslet, trumpeting a forthcoming "Brit cleanup" at the Academy Awards, whenever they may be.
In any event, Macro Man is proud to unveil the finalists for the first annual Golden Bog awards, honouring the assets and people that have exhibited the most turd-like behaviour. As you can probably imagine, the list of semi-finalists was exhaustive, and the gnomes at Macro Man Industries have been working overtime to winnow it down to three finalists.
And now welcome to the stage a member of the Golden Bog Awards official auditors, Friehling and Horowitz, with the three nominees:
1) The Financials! (cue a rousing cheer....) Eighteen months into to the market and economic crisis, we are still seeing writedowns, the emergence of hidden losses, and accelerating government bailouts. Single digit stock prices (or sub £1 in the UK) are now virtually de rigeur, and finding credit at a reasonable price is only slightly easier than finding Eldorado.
2) The Russian Rouble! (a smattering of applause....) After preventing currency strength for years, accruing massive reserves, and telling foreigners that you intend to screw them.....you invade another country for no obvious reason, sustain a massive negative terms of trade shock, and spend a load of your reserves in a futile attempt to defend your currency from achieving uber-turd status. (Yesterday's announcement of a regime change has not noticably slowed the pressure on the RUB.)
3) John Thain! (cue a round of catcalls and hissing....) Mr. Thain took over at Merrill Lynch in late 2007 armed with a golden reputation and a promise to "kitchen sink" the bad assets on the ML balance sheet. The ensuing fourteen months saw aggregate losses of $34.58 per share, a shotgun wedding to Bank of America, and, yesterday, an ignominious departure.
Putting aside his failure to staunch the losses at Mother Merrill, the suspicious decision to expedite the payment of bonuses just before year end carries with it more than a faint whiff of sulphur- not least because the troops on the ground got stiffed pretty badly, by all accounts. From the outside, the decision to pay himself and his cronies just before the BOA merger looks to be bordering on criminal.
But what really cements Thain as the winner of the first annual Golden Bog Award was his decision to spend $1.2 million doing up his office last year, including spending $35k on what Macro Man can only posit was literally a golden bog.
So congratulations to John Thain, winner of the Golden Bog Award! Mr. Thain is pictured below accepting his award.