Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/26/business/26merril1.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin Facing billions of dollars in losses from the subprime mortgage crisis, Merrill Lynch chairman and chief executive, E. Stanley OâNeal, floated the idea of a merger with a large bank, a foray that angered Merrillâs board and could cost him his job, according to people close to the beleaguered Wall Street firm. Mr. OâNeal broached the possibility of a merger with Wachovia, the bank based in Charlotte, N.C., without first getting the approval of Merrillâs board, a major breach of corporate protocol at a time when directors were already concerned about the companyâs performance, these people said. Merrillâs board was so upset with Mr. OâNeal that it even discussed the names of potential candidates to replace him, according to people with knowledge of the boardâs proceedings. Candidates who were discussed include Laurence D. Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, an investment firm partly owned by Merrill, and John A. Thain, chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange. Jason Wright, a Merrill Lynch spokesman, declined to comment on contacts with possible merger partners. A Wachovia spokeswoman declined to comment.