Chief Executive of Bank of America (BAC) Ken Lewis said Thursday Merrill Lynch (MER) Chairman and CEO John Thain will be the head of BofA’s global banking, securities and wealth management division once the $50 billion acquisition of the brokerage is completed. Mr. Lewis also announced that Brian Moynihan who was appointed a year ago to oversee a shakeup at B of A’s investment bank – will take on a newly created enterprise role aimed at redefining the co.’s business model, once Thain comes on board.
“I am delighted that John has agreed to join Bank of America,” Lewis said. “His experience and expertise will be invaluable as we put our two companies together and move forward as the premier financial services company in the world.”
The new division Thain will direct includes many of the operations that will be merged from Merrill, including the brokerage and mutual fund operations as well as B of A’s investment banking and management operations.
Thain’s appointment is an indication that he will now be the front runner for the top job at Bank of America when its current CEO Ken Lewis retires. The announcement comes a week after Lewis told Merrill brokers Thain would stay at the combined company without however, specifying his role.
“This is an opportunity to create what will be the leading financial institution in the world. Combining these two companies will create great value for our shareholders and clients around the world,” said Thain. “I look forward to working with Ken and the business leaders at both companies as we build the world’s premiere financial services firm.”
The highly regarded Thain, 53, who has held management positions at Goldman Sachs (GS) as President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, before assuming his current role in December ’07 was earlier the CEO and a director of NYSE Euronext Inc. which he joined in ’04.
BAC is currently trading at mid $37 levels, down $0.95, or 2.14%. MER is trading up $0.72, or 2.73%, at $27.50.