Former head of Merrill Lynch John Thain is in talks with Commercial lender CIT Group Inc. (CIT) for the post of the company’s chief executive officer, according to a WSJ report on Wednesday.
A person close to the situation said Mr. Thain, who is reportedly considering alternatives, both at public and private companies, had been approached for the job by the lender. The source however, cautioned that talks were “extremely preliminary” and it remained too early to say whether Thain would take the position.
Prior to working at Merrill Lynch, the MIT and Harvard-educated executive Thain ran NYSE Euronext (NYX) for four years and worked for nearly 25 years at Goldman Sachs (GS).
CIT came close to extinction last year thanks to the unparalleled incompetence of its longtime chief executive Jeffrey Peek who retires on Jan. 15. The company, which filed one of the five largest bankruptcies in U.S. history on Nov. 1 after a debt exchange offer failed, exited from bankruptcy protection last month after eliminating more than $10 billion of debt from its balance sheet. CIT Group listed liabilities of nearly $65 billion in its bankruptcy filing, making it one of the largest cases on record.
The company still faces problems raising the capital required to make the thousands of loans to small and medium-sized business that are its major activity.