Thain to Head Investment Banking at BofA

John Thain, current Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER) chairman and chief executive, was named to a “major role” in the recently combined Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Merrill Lynch enterprise according to a press statement Tuesday morning. Bank of America chairman and CEO Ken Lewis said that Thain will oversee the global banking, securities and wealth management of the combined companies once the acquisition is completed sometime later this year. Before taking the helm at Merrill in December, Thain served as CEO and director of NYSE Euronext Inc. (NYX); prior to that, he was president at COO at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS). (Sheesh, who isn’t from Goldman these days?) The news of Thain’s role at BofA comes after CEO Ken Lewis announced last week that Thain — who was at the forefront of negotiating Merrill’s sale to the North Carolina based-bank ahead of a collapse at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. — would stay on board at BofA. The Wall Street Journal suggested that Thain’s decision to stay may reflect Lewis’ desire to groom a successor, as most believe no such effort has yet been focused on at the bank. Speculators cited in the Journal’s story said Thain, 53, might just be that person.  “There is really nobody else around,” one analyst told the Journal. The bank also said that Brian Moyniham, who currently runs BofA’s investment banking unit, will remain with the firm and move to a newly-created “enterprise-wide role” that Lewis suggest would involve redefining BofA’s business model. “I have asked Brian to lead an effort that will redefine our business model, taking into account the strengths of both predecessor companies and our extensive opportunities around the world,” Lewis said.  “As part of this effort, he is to ensure that we have optimized our infrastructure investments to drive growth in the merged company.” The pending merger with Merrill Lynch is not BofA’s only integration challenge it faces this year. The bank also purchased troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. on July 1, making it the largest mortgage lender and servicer in the country. The addition of Merrill will give it the nation’s largest stock brokerage and a large investment bank to boot. For more information, visit Editor’s note: To contact the reporter on this story, email [email protected].

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