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NYSE Names John Reed Interim Chairman

The former Citigroup CEO will try to restore order after Dick Grasso's resignation.
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The embattled board of the

New York Stock Exchange

turned to consummate Wall Street insider John Reed to stanch the bleeding in the wake of the Dick Grasso ouster.

Reed, the retired

Citigroup

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chief executive who helped engineer its merger with Sandy Weill's Traveler's Group, will receive a $1 salary to be interim chairman of the NYSE board. Reed will also step down as director of NYSE-listed

Altria

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.

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The appointment came after a whirlwind of directors' meetings at the Big Board, which is grappling with one of the biggest public-relations debacles of its 211-year history following the resignation of Grasso over his $140 million pay package. The board had been led by compensation committee chief Carl McCall since Grasso resigned late Wednesday, with day-to-day administration of the exchange falling to Catherine Kinney and Robert Britz, co-chief operating officers of the NYSE.

(For a comprehensive look at the NYSE board,

click here .)

Larry Fink, the BlackRock chairman who led the board panel that appointed Reed, said he was the group's first choice. Still, several NYSE board members including lawyer Larry Sonsini and TIAA-CREF Chairman Herb Allison, turned it down before the committee was formed. Fink will continue chairing the group as it seeks a permanent chairman.

"My priority will be to ensure that this Board is effective and can get its job done," Reed said in a statement. "The governance reforms we will propose are critical at this juncture. I look forward to working with Bob Britz and Cathy Kinney and the rest of the management team at the exchange in the coming weeks and months as they ensure the reforms become a reality."

Fink said the board worked through the weekend and came up with a list of 12 candidates for interim chairman, with Reed's name on top.

"John certainly has the skills and experience to preside over this board and ensure that we effectively move forward in proposing meaningful governance reforms," McCall said in a statement. "He is committed to working with the board and the

Securities and Exchange Commission

to effect positive and constructive change."

Reed retired as chairman and co-chief executive officer of Citigroup in April 2000. Prior to the merger of Citicorp and Travelers in October 1998, Reed was the chairman and chief executive officer of Citicorp and Citibank from 1984-98. He joined Citibank in 1965.