Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Merrill Lynch & Co.Image via Wikipedia
John Key the smiling assassin - as he sacked hundreds of Merril Lynch employees

John Key well remembered as the smiling assassin who sacked hundreds of Merrill Lynch staff, in the days before he entered New Zealand politics and became prime minister. Now he is responsible for sacking thousands of kiwi public servants. Just the type of person you would invite home to meet your mother? Yeah Right!

Key's first job was in 1982, as an auditor at McCulloch Menzies, and he then moved to be a project manager at Christchurch-based clothing manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin for two years.[7] Key began working as a foreign exchange dealer at Elders Finance in Wellington, and rose to the position of head foreign exchange trader two years later, then moved to Auckland-based Bankers Trust in 1988.

In 1995, he joined Merrill Lynch as head of Asian foreign exchange in Singapore. That same year he was promoted to Merrill's global head of foreign exchange, based in London, where he may have earned around US$2.25 million a year including bonuses, which is about NZ$5 million at 2001 exchange rates. Some co-workers called him "the smiling assassin" for maintaining his usual cheerfulness while sacking dozens (some say hundreds) of staff after heavy losses from the 1998 Russian financial crisis. He was a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2001.

In 1998, on learning of his interest in pursuing a political career, the National Party president John Slater began working actively to recruit him. Former party leader Jenny Shipley describes him as one of the people she "deliberately sought out and put my head on the line–either privately or publicly–to get them in there".

He doesn't appear to have changed much - now he smiles as thousands of NZ public servants lose their jobs weekly because of his Governments policy to reduce the numbers in the public service, regardless of need.

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