The resignation comes a few weeks after the January 1 acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America. Thain had agreed to the sale of Merrill to Bank of America in the fall (see “Bank of America Buys Merrill Lynch’). He was set to head the wealth management unit of the newly combined company (see “Thain To Head Wealth Management at Bank of America’).
Reports of Thain’s departure emerged after an emergency meeting Thursday between Thain and BoA’s CEO Ken Lewis. The news comes amid increased scrutiny about whether Thain knew of and properly disclosed the full extent of losses at Merrill, TheWall Street Journal reported. BoA has sought extra federal assistance because the Merrill losses were much worse than expected.
Former Merrill executives Robert McCann, former vice chairman of Merrill’s wealth management division, and Gregory Fleming, former Merrill president and COO, resigned in the week following the acquisition (see “McCann Exits Merrill after Bank of America Takeover’ and “BoA Loses another Ex-Merrill Exec’).
Thain joined Merrill Lynch in December 2007 after the departure of Stan O’Neal (see “O’Neal Leaving Merrill’). Previously, Thain served as CEO and director of NYSE Euronext, Inc. Before joining the NYSE, Thain worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as president and COO, according to his Bank of America bio.