NEW YORK — Bank of America Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis told Merrill Lynch & Co. brokers Wednesday that Merrill Chief Executive John Thain would stay at the combined firm after the merger of the banks is completed, according to people familiar with the situation.

On Sept. 14, Bank of America agreed to purchase Merrill Lynch for $50 billion, or $29 a share. At a Sept. 15 press conference to announce the two firms' deal, Thain said he and Lewis "haven't had much time to talk about my role going forward," and declined to specify whether he would join the combined company.

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