CIT Group Inc. announced on Wednesday that CEO John Thain, the crisis-era leader of Merrill Lynch & Co., will retire as chief executive of the lender on March 31, 2016. His retirement arrives at a time when the organization is attempting to transition into a U.S. commercial banking operation.
The lender to small and medium businesses, said it would explore options for its $10 billion commercial air business and look to sell its CIT Canada and CIT China businesses as part of its shift.
Thain will remain chairman and will be succeeded in the CEO role by Ellen R. Alemany, who will become vice chairman on November 1 and CEO on April 1, 2016.
Alemany’s background includes positions at the Royal Bank of Scotland Americas and Citigroup Inc.
Thain had previously served as president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.
He joined CIT in 2010 after the company had filed for bankruptcy a year prior. He has spent the last five years building its consumer and commercial businesses while selling nonstrategic assets.
CIT earlier this year purchased IMB Holdco LLC for $3.4 billion. It is the parent company of OneWest Bank NA.