John Thain’s appointment as CEO of Merrill Lynch could help rebuild the reputation of the financial sector, says Matthew Simon, analyst, Tabb Group. NYSE Euronext confirmed Thain would be departing as CEO to take up his new post at Merrill Lynch last Wednesday, and announced that he would be replaced by former COO Duncan Niederauer.
Simon reports that Merrill Lynch is a company searching for better identity, guidance and growth potential and Thain's experience from working on Wall Street and with NYSE Euronext should enable this ambition to be realised. Thain took charge at NYSE Euronext after 25- year veteran Richard Grasso retired and, shortly afterwards, took the once-private exchange public. This gave retail investors the opportunity to buy shares in an organisation responsible for listing the biggest companies in the world.
According to Simon, Thain initiated global exchange consolidation through the acquisition of Euronext. He also foresaw the importance of having an electronic marketplace and promoted the hybrid market at a time when this was not viewed favourably by many within the industry, notes Simon.