CIT Group Names John Thain Chairman and CEO

It’s official. After a nearly four-month search for a replacement, former Merrill Lynch chief John A. Thain — whom Bank of America (BAC) ousted shortly after its purchase of Merrill closed in January 2009 — is named CIT Group Inc.’s (CIT) chairman and chief executive.

Thain, 54, becomes chairman and chief executive officer effective immediately, New York-based CIT said today in a statement.

For Thain, which begins his job on Monday, this is another chance at restoring his career after a fall from grace.

WSJ: “It has been a difficult year,” he said Sunday. “This is a very interesting company to me,” Mr. Thain added. “CIT’s primary business is lending to small and midsize companies, and if the U.S. economy is going to continue to improve, this is where we need to focus.”

Thain previously served as CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, where he presided over the exchange’s global transformation into a publicly-traded entity. He spent the majority of his career at Goldman Sachs (GS), where he rose to President and Chief Operating Officer.

Thain received a Bachelor of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

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