03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Search For O'Neal's Replacement Begins

Imagining Citicorp after Charles Prince or Bear Stearns after James Cayne have long been popular games on Wall Street. The calculations about what happens next at Merrill Lynch after Stan O'Neal have had to ramp up almost overnight.

The rapid and spectacular fall of O'Neal is expected to become official soon. Reports say that O'Neal has agreed to resign and is negotiating the terms of his departure. That will mean a payday of of at least $159 million if he steps down, according to an analysis done for the New York Times, but less than if he left as a result of a merger.