Thain takes helm at CIT

US financial services firm CIT has recruited former Merrill Lynch chief John Thain as chairman and chief executive officer. Thain takes over from Peter Tobin who had been acting as interim CEO for the firm, which provides finance to small businesses and middle market companies. Tobin will stay on as a director.

Thain’s appointment comes shortly after CIT filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after its failed attempt to correct its increasing debt and loan losses. The company listed close to $65 billion in its bankruptcy filing, one of the largest cases on record, but was able to execute a quick restructuring after securing support from bondholders.

Thain was the key figure in brokering Merrill Lynch’s sale to Bank of America in September 2008, and stayed on at the firm after the merger was completed. Thain left BoA after he was criticised for passing $3.6 billion in bonuses to Merrill Lynch staff. Prior to Merrill Lynch, Thain was CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, but served the majority of his career at Goldman Sachs.

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