It's hard to muster any sympathy for Merrill Lynch's John Thain, or Morgan Stanley's John Mack. The CEOs of both firms are passing on their bonuses for 2008 (this is the second straight year Mack refused his bonus). Such decisions should be expected from CEOs steering their organizations through difficult times, and more corporate chieftains should follow their lead.

Okay, Thain got a push in the right direction, after initially arguing he deserved a bonus of up to $10 million. That he orchestrated the sale of Merrill to Bank of America - staving off the firm's seemingly imminent demise - is what he was supposed to do, given the extraordinary circumstances, to protect shareholders from further losses.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.