Bank of America, which rescued Merrill Lynch with a $50 billion purchase offer two weeks ago, said Thain would take over the company's global banking, securities and wealth management when the acquisition was completed, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The job puts Thain in position as the likely successor for Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis, the Journal reported.
One unnamed analyst said there was no other likely candidate to replace Lewis when he retires. "There is really nobody else around," the analyst said.
A Bank of America spokesman said Thain was "delighted to be part of B of A." However, succeeding Lewis was not part of the discussion when Thain and Lewis talked, the spokesman said.