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John Alexander Thain (created May 26, 1955) is an American businessman, investment banker, and now chairman and CEO of the CIT Group. He was designated to become president of international banking, securities, and wealth management in the newly combined firm, but stepped down on January 22, 2009. Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, allegedly pressured Thain to step down after several controversies, including the losses at Merrill Lynch which proved to be much bigger than previously estimated, as well as the prize of enormous executive bonuses. Thain was nicknamed “Superman”, because of his facial likeness to the character’s alter ego Clark Kent.
Before he came to Merrill, Thain had become the CEO of the Ny Stock Exchange from January 2004 to December 2007. Thain apparently was among the runners up to head Citigroup. Merrill Lynch and Citigroup sought new leaders following the abrupt departure of the former CEOs subsequent to the unsatisfactory performance in the 3rd quarter of 2007 due to the subprime mortgage disaster. Thain organized the deal of Merrill to Bank of America at $29 per share, a 70 percent premium on the market price. Thain was anticipated to be president of international banking, securities and wealth management, a fresh department at Bank of America, to manage its corporate and investment bank & most of wealth management company.