CIT Group Inc. is rounding out its executive suite, taking another step toward normality for the financing company — and potentially earning regulators' approval for John Thain's planned shift toward a banking model.

CIT said Tuesday that it had hired Nelson Chai and Robert Rowe as chief administrative officer and chief credit officer, respectively. They were to begin immediately, and under CIT's cease-and-desist order, both hirings would have had to win approval from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Chai, 44, has a lengthy career working with Thain, who became CIT's chief executive in February.

As the chief financial officer of Archipelego Holdings, Chai helped broker the Internet stock exchange to the NYSE, then run by Thain.

He followed Thain to Merrill Lynch & Co. and, briefly, to Bank of America Corp. before leaving a few weeks after Thain's own departure early last year.

Rowe, 49, is the former senior credit officer of FirstMerit Bank. He previously was the chief credit officer of National City Corp.'s National City Bank.

Chai and Rowe joined CIT just a few weeks after the company hired a chief risk officer and a chief auditing officer as it beefs up its executive ranks.

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