The Journal Gets a Scalp

A day after the Journal went page one with a story about Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain begging the board for a $10 million bonus, the company decided to give him nothing, the paper says today.

Score one for the Journal.

And looks like we’ve got some internal strife at Merrill:

The compensation committee met for several hours to discuss the issue and some people familiar with the matter say Mr. Thain was initially resistant to the suggestion of taking no bonus. However, a Merrill spokeswoman said Mr. Thain kicked off the meeting by requesting no bonus.

And this is right on:

The moves by Merrill and Morgan Stanley essentially mark the end of an era for giant CEO bonuses on Wall Street, at least until the next bull market. From Credit Suisse Group to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to UBS, the year-end payouts that enriched top executives and symbolized the record profits that investment banks raked in before the housing bubble burst suddenly are an endangered species. And with business expected to remain dismal, Wall Street chiefs face the prospect of foregoing another bonus in 2009.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.