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Merrill Taps NYSE's Chai as CFO

Nelson Chai worked with new CEO John Thain at the Big Board.
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Updated from 5:02 p.m. EST


Merrill Lynch


CEO John Thain did not take long to tap the talent well at his old employer.

Merrill on Monday announced that Nelson Chai, executive vice president and CFO of

NYSE Euronext


, will assume the same title at the company, effective Dec. 10. He replaces Jeffrey N. Edwards, who had held the post since 2005.

Thain left the top post at NYSE Euronext and started his new job Dec. 1. He began working with Chai, 42, as the Big Board merged with Archipelago Holdings in early 2006.

"Nelson was a key advisor to me and the board of directors at NYSE," Thain said in a statement. "He played critical roles in the Euronext and Archipelago mergers and also has been instrumental in the development and execution of our international expansion and overall growth strategy, in addition to overseeing the finance-related operations at the company. I am very confident he will be a welcome and important contributor to our success at Merrill Lynch."

Chai comes to Merrill at a time of change at the top. Thain is taking over for former chairman and CEO Stanley O'Neal, who was ousted after the firm posted larger-than-expected writedowns for mortgage and other asset-backed securities. O'Neal's departure came in a wave of credit-related bloodletting in top Wall Street firms, which also saw



CEO Charles Prince and, more recently,

Morgan Stanley


Co-President Zoe Cruz -- the heir-apparent to CEO John Mack -- also leave.

Edwards previously was head of Merrill's investment banking for the Americas region and will assume "a new operating role" at the bank, the company said in the statement, which promised an announcement "shortly."

"Jeff has been a key contributor to the building of our investment banking franchise and his 20 years of experience at Merrill Lynch make him a valued member of management here," Thain said. "I look forward to benefiting from that experience as we move forward."

At NYSE Euronext, Deputy CFO Joost van der Does de Willebois, head of the company's Amsterdam market, will assume the role of acting CFO.