John Thain on His New Job as CEO of Merrill Lynch

"I'm not sure a sprawling network of brokers is&any more difficult to manage than a sprawling network of investment bankers"

The appointment of NYSE Euronext (NYX) chief John Thain to replace Stan O'Neal as CEO of Merrill Lynch (MER) caught almost everyone on Wall Street by surprise. The scuttlebutt had been that Thain was headed for the top job at Citigroup (C) after the abrupt exit of Chuck Prince. Larry Fink, founder and boss of BlackRock (BLK)—which is partly owned by Merrill—was widely rumored to be O'Neal's replacement. But by the end of business on Nov. 14, Thain was set to sit atop Merrill. I caught up with him that day on CNBC and then again after his first visit to his new firm.

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