(Adds fund manager comment, background on other hires)
NEW YORK Dec 18 Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), set to complete its takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co Inc MER.N this month, said on Thursday Merrill's chief financial officer, Nelson Chai, will head the combined banks' Asia Pacific businesses.
Chai became Merrill's CFO a year ago, after John Thain became chief executive. Thain and Chai had worked together at NYSE Euronext NYX.N.
Bank of America agreed to buy Merrill Lynch in September, and last month Thain was named head of investment banking, securities and wealth management for the combined company.
"The deal was about acquiring [Thain's] team as much as anything," said Mike Holland, chairman of Holland & Co in New York.
"It's another trusted lieutenant of Thain moving into a key position," he added.
Many senior Merrill investment banking and trading executives are set to take on key roles when the banks combine, including Tom Montag, head of sales and trading at Merrill, who has been named head of sales, trading and research at Bank of America. Greg Fleming, chief operating officer and president at Merrill, has been named head of global corporate, commercial and investment banking for the combined banks.
Jonathan Moulds, currently Bank of America's president of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, will be president of Europe when the banks combine, the bank said on Thursday.
Both Chai, who will be based in Hong Kong, and Moulds, based in London, will report to Thain. (Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Derek Caney and John Wallace)