NEW YORK: Owen Blicksilver Public Relations is providing advisory counsel for ousted Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O'Neal, according to sources.
The troubled firm called O'Neal's departure a “retirement” in a statement released on Tuesday. The news follows immediately after Merrill's disclosure of a $7.9 billion write-down, the largest quarterly losses in the firm's history. The firm's stock is down 30% for the year.
O'Neal had earned a mixed reputation over the years – turning Merrill's fortunes in a lucrative direction after assuming the CEO position in 2002, but doing so with massive layoffs and increased focus on investment banking and high-net worth clients. He is the first head of a major investment firm to fall victim to the sub-prime mortgage crisis currently gripping the economy. He leaves the firm with a package worth over $160 million.
Merrill is still searching for O'Neal's replacement. NYSE Euronext CEO John Thain and BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink are among those being considered. Alberto Cribriore, Brera Capital managing partner, is serving as interim nonexecutive chairman during the decision-making process.
Owen Blicksilver PR has worked with notable names such as Texas Pacific in their multi-billion-dollar buyout earlier this year. The firm declined to comment for this story.