CIT Names Board Member To Interim CEO Post

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Commercial lender CIT Group Inc (CIT.N) on Tuesday named longtime director Peter Tobin as acting chief executive as the company’s board looks for a permanent successor to Jeffrey Peek, who retired as chairman and CEO on Friday.

Tobin, 64, will continue to serve as a director while the board seeks to fill the CEO post as quickly as possible, CIT said in a statement.

The lender, which recently emerged from bankruptcy, was said by sources familiar with the matter to be courting former Merrill Lynch & Co (MERDL.PK) Chief Executive John Thain for its top job.

A deal to hire Thain could also include Nelson Chai, who worked with Thain at Merrill and also NYSE Euronext (NYX.N), one of the sources said last week.

Thain resigned under pressure from Bank of America last January, a few weeks after the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank bought Merrill. He told Reuters last year he was looking for a job in private equity or with a public company.

A CIT spokesman had no comment on Tuesday on whether Thain was still in the running, or if the company had identified a preferred candidate.

(Reporting by Gina Keating, additional reporting by Elinor Comlay in New York; editing by Leslie Gevirtz)