Page last updated at 19:10 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Former Merrill Lynch boss resigns

John Thain and Ken Lewis
John Thain and Ken Lewis announce plans to merge their banks

The former chief executive of Merrill Lynch, John Thain, has resigned from Bank of America just three weeks after the two banks officially merged.

The departure comes a week after the combined bank received $20bn in aid from the US government and $118bn worth of guarantees against bad debt.

Also last week, Merrill Lynch reported a loss for the final three months of 2008 of $15.31bn.

No official reason has been given for Mr Thain's departure.

Mutual consent

"[Bank of America chief] Ken Lewis flew to New York today to talk to John Thain, and it was mutually agreed that his situation was not working out and he would resign," said bank spokesman Robert Stickler.

The resignation follows reports that Merrill Lynch paid its year-end bonuses early - handing out payments just days before the takeover by Bank of America.

Mr Thain was heading up the combined wealth management divisions of the merged bank.

Bank of America was widely considered to be one of the strongest US banks until the acquisition of Merrill.

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