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Updated from 2:07 p.m. EDT

Days after the ouster of his mentor in a boardroom flap, Arshad Zakaria,

Merrill Lynch's


41-year-old head of global markets and investment banking, announced he will also retire from the firm.

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Zakaria, who will leave at year's end, was reportedly at the center of a dispute between Merrill CEO Stanley O'Neal and Thomas Patrick, the recently ousted former CFO. Accounts said Patrick was asked to retire after recommending Zakaria to be the firm's president, a position O'Neal wanted to fill with Greg Fleming and Dow Kim.

The company said Wednesday that Zakaria will serve as chairman of the global markets and investment banking group to assist in the transition to new management.

Fleming, co-head of the financial institutions group of global investment banking, and Kim, head of global debt markets, have been named co-heads of global markets and investment banking. Both appointments are effective immediately.

Zakaria held a succession of senior roles at Merrill Lynch, including serving as head of corporate finance and senior vice president, corporate risk management, before becoming president of the markets and banking group in October 2001.

Fleming joined Merrill Lynch's investment banking group in 1992, and Kim has worked for the company since 1994.