With Stan O'Neal all but ousted after an $8.4 billion writedown mostly on subprime loans and an overture to Wachovia, Merrill Lynch is on the hunt for a new chairman and CEO. Candidates include BlackRock's Larry Fink, NYSE Euronext's John Thain, and in-house contender Robert McCann, Reuters reports. Sources tell CNBC O'Neal will be gone this weekend.
Speculation about O'Neal's departure worked wonders on Merrill shares, which soared 5.19% to $66.09. Fink is considered one of the top bond managers in the US; Thain is a former Goldman-Sachs co-president; McCann, who directs the 16,610 Merrill Lynch brokers, has been hauling in record profits. (Read more Merrill Lynch stories.)