Executive moves, week of Nov. 30, 2009

John Thain mulls move to PE

Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain is exploring his next move, which could possibly be to a private equity firm or perhaps a public company.

While he has not yet decided which route he will end up pursuing, Thain said that he is looking for a position that is “interesting and challenging.”

“I’m really exploring a number of different opportunities; there’s a whole range of private equity types of things that I’m looking at, and I wouldn’t be adverse to an opportunity in a public company if one were to come along,” Thain said at the Reuters Global Finance Summit earlier this month in New York.

“I like deal making, but I also like building things,” he said. Thain would also consider a role outside the financial sector, he said, adding with a smile that he has a degree in electrical engineering.

Thain led the New York Stock Exchange when it struck its deal to buy Archipelago, steered its takeover of European markets operator Euronext NV and negotiated the sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America, before being ousted from the top job earlier this year.

Prior to heading the NYSE, Thain spent nearly a quarter century at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The former Merrill CEO defended his tenure at Merrill, saying that he did the “right thing for my shareholders and employees.

Thain said that there are lots of potential opportunities in the private equity arena, but “in terms of big public companies, there are not very many opportunities right now.”

Thain added that he probably wouldn’t start a boutique investment bank-type business, but said there could be opportunities to build companies “in a more start-up mode.” —Megan Davies, Reuters

Hercules Technology strengthens team with Jaquez-Fissori

Todd Jaquez-Fissori has joined venture debt lender Hercules Technology Growth Capital as a managing director in the firm’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based office. Jaquez-Fissori had spent time last year with TriplePoint Capital and before that spent four years as a managing director with Siemens Venture Capital.

Westheimer to advise Flybridge

Nate Westheimer has joined Flybridge Capital Partners as an advisor, while continuing to serve as co-founder and executive vice president of product and technology at AnyClip. Prior to AnyClip, Westheimer was an entrepreneur-in-residence with Rose Tech Ventures.

Bridgescale Partners adds Gwin as venture partner

Howard Gwin has joined Menlo Park, Calif.-based growth equity firm Bridgescale Partners as a venture partner, working from the firm’s Toronto-based office. He most recently served as president of Solect Technology Group.

Demetriou joins Resilience advisory board

Steven Demetriou, chairman and CEO of Aleris International, has joined the executive committee and advisory board of Resilience Capital Partners.

Avon moves to Millennial Media

Michael Avon has joined Millennial Media as executive vice president and CFO. He previously was a principal with Columbia Capital. Millennial is a Baltimore-based provider of mobile advertising solutions, which recently raised $16 million in Series C funding from Columbia, New Enterprise Associates, Bessemer Venture Partners and Charles River Ventures.