Ruffles in the Feathered Nest

I have a story in the most recent issue about the generous exit packages for CEOs at the top financial services firms. In no way are we making a judgment call on the next head to roll, but it seemed like a useful exercise given all the attention on Stanley O’Neal’s $161 million package from Merrill Lynch and Chuck Prince’s $12 million walk away bonus from Citigroup. There’s also a slideshow.

Today’s news that Mark Ernst, the chairman and chief executive of H&R Block, is resigning amid the company’s exposure to risky loans does not bode well for other financial execs. Again, no predictions here, but reports today that Freddie Mac posted $2 billion in losses for the third quarter must be making bigwigs in the corner offices around the country nervous.

+One fund manager I spoke to (he can’t talk on the record because he’s a big investor in major financial players) says the subprime dust will not settle for at least two more quarters. To me, two quarters seems like an eternity. But my source—who is an optimist—notes, “We are half way through this.”

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