Thursday, May 28, 2009

The other Ken is moving on

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 9:45 AM

What do you do when you're blamed for ruining a giant bank and kicked out by their board? Apparently, you stay in the same industry and spend more time in New York City.

What was he supposed to do? Hide in a cave?

Former Wachovia chief executive Ken Thompson has joined a New York investment firm as a senior adviser, setting the stage for a second act in a financial services career tarnished by the Charlotte bank's near collapse and sale last year to Wells Fargo.

A year ago next Tuesday, Wachovia made the stunning announcement that its board had ousted Thompson amid rising losses from his Golden West Financial acquisition and other missteps. Less than four months later, as the financial crisis deepened, successor Bob Steel agreed to sell Wachovia to San Francisco-based Wells.

Though the board has been criticized for letting their star go, they've moved on, too, selling out to Wells Fargo.

Don't feel too bad for The (other) Ken: He didn't walk away empty-handed:

In his departure, Thompson received $1.4 million in severance and up to $50,000 for legal fees. As part of his retirement agreement, he also has use of a small office near uptown and a secretary, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman confirmed.

His restricted stock holdings vested upon retirement and were initially worth $7.2 million. But those shares, if Thompson held onto them, are now worth much less, like those owned by other former Wachovia stockholders. In the Wells deal, Wachovia shareholders received one-fifth of a Wells Fargo share for each Wachovia share. At Wednesday's closing price of $24.08, that means Thompson's restricted shares would be worth about $1.5 million. His stock options remain worthless.

Read more at Charlotte.com.

Here's the news of his "retirement" from last year:

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