We are waiting to hear the outcome of the NYSE's unscheduled board meeting. Let's assume that John Thain is indeed leaving to go to Merrill Lynch,as has been reported.
Questions for the NYSE :
1) Will the stock take a hit? Deutsche Bank analyst Rob Rutschow noted, "We feel that at least some investors were buyers of NYSE because of John Thain. With his departure, we believe investors may now look more to results, which may be somewhat less impressive than the persona of John Thain." Stock dropped initially, now moving up midday.
2) Is NYSE still committed to a derivatives acquisition like the Nymex? Bank of America CEO Chris Allen noted that while co-COO Duncan Niederauer was a strong candidate to replace Thain, he noted that "if Duncan is named CEO, he may be less inclined to pursue deals than his predecessor." Because of concerns about earnings dilution, this could be a positive for NYSE stock, Allen says. And, by implication, a negative for the Nymex, widely regarded as a likely buyout candidate. Nymex down 3%
3) Will Marsh Carter, chairman of the board, assume a more important role?
John Thain's major accomplishments during his nearly four years at the NYSE:
1) Demutualizating the NYSE and taking it public. While this was controversial, and destroyed much of the clubby comraderie of the NYSE, it ultimately made a lot of money for seat holders (who became shareholders), brought more value to the franchise, and helped put much of the controversy around Richard Grasso behind it.