NEW YORK (
has held talks with John Thain to discuss the former Merrill Lynch chief taking the top job at the newly recapitalized lender, according to a
Thain, a former
executive who led a turnaround at
before taking over Merrill's top job, will likely make a decision on the next phase of his career within the next month, according to
Thain looked like a hero in the fall of 2008 when he engineered the sale of Merrill to
Bank of America
when the markets appeared to have lost virtually every shred of confidence in companies like Merrill,
that funded themselves chiefly by issuing short term debt.
However, Thain left Merrill soon after the merger with Bank of America was completed after initially accepting a high-level post at the combined institution. His image soon became tarnished as press reports surfaced that he had spent lavish sums on office redecorations at Merrill.
CIT filed for bankruptcy late last year and, after a lightning-quick reorganization, listed its shares once again Dec. 10. It has announced several new high profile board appointments, including
. Its shares are up some 25% since being relisted, but were down Tuesday, along with most other large financial stocks. The shares did spike briefly in mid-afternoon trading, possibly in reaction to the report.
"We do not comment on market rumor or speculation. Our CEO search continues to progress," wrote CIT spokesman Curt Ritter, via email, to
CIT Group CEO Jeff Peek will leave the company at the end of this week. Thain could not immediately be reached.
Thain is also considering jobs at private equity firms,
Written by Dan Freed in New York