Thain to Chair Merrill Lynch

Musical chairs continues on Wall Street

Who will lead NYSE Euronext now that John Thain, CEO and director of the exchanges since 2006, and NYSE since 2004, was named the new chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch? According to a November 14 announcement from Merrill Lynch, Thain will succeed Stan O'Neal, Merrill's former chairman and CEO, who retired October 30 under the cloud of the firm's write-down of $7.9 billion related to its CDO and U.S. subprime mortgage portfolios, and the resulting loss of $2.3 billion for the third quarter. Thain will begin at Merrill Lynch on December 1. Before going to the NYSE, Thain, 52, was president and COO of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

"I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to lead such an outstanding organization. Merrill Lynch is a leader in global wealth management, investment banking and sales and trading. I look forward to working with an incredibly talented group of people with a terrific brand and reputation. I am certain that together we can continue to grow Merrill's global business and add value to our customers and our shareholders," Thain says in the announcement.

Investors seem bullish about the appointment even before the new post was officially announced, sending Merrill Lynch (MER), stock up 1.81% to close at $57.98. Thain's appointment was widely reported before the official Merrill Lynch announcement. No official word yet on a successor at NYSE Euronext for Thain. NYSE Euronext (NYX), stock closed slightly down, off -0.26%, at $86.74.

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