Thain joined Merrill Lynch as CEO and chairman in 2008, after serving as the NYSE's CEO for the three previous years. Just as Lehman was about to go under, Thain helped negotiate the sale of Merrill to Bank of America(BAC) for a premium to its stock price.
Still, Thain didn't win many friends at Bank of America. After earning nearly $18 million in 2007, he pushed unsuccessfully for a $10 million bonus in 2008. A widely criticized $1.2 million renovation of his office when he joined Bank of America didn't help. Thain was pushed out of the bank in early 2009.
Thain has redeemed himself as the head of CIT. He joined the midsize lender in early 2010 shortly after it emerged from bankruptcy protection and has been credited with turning it around. The Fed gave the bank the go-ahead to consider buying back stock earlier this year.