Sources said that Michael Blum, who was the global head of Merrill's ABS business, has left the bank. Exact details of his departure were not available as of press time. Blum's leaving is in keeping with recent departures from the firm. According to ASR's 05/05 issue, Stewart Cutler, David Sobotka and Scott Soltas have all opted to take generous packages and will leave the investment bank by the beginning of June. Sobotka heads up the bank's fixed-income group, while Soltas is global head of the firm's mortgage business. Cutler, who is a managing director at the firm's asset-backed commercial paper group, will be replaced by Robert Little, who has been with Merrill Lynch for more than 25 years and who will now oversee all aspects of the bank's global money markets business.

McDermott Will & Emery has appointed two new partners in the securitization and structured finance group. Pierre Brochet joins the firm this month and Abesh Choudhury will take up his new position on July 1. Brochet joins the firm from the London office of White & Case. He specializes in structured finance, in particular synthetic CDOs. Choudhury will join the firm from Dewey & LeBoeuf, where he was head of their U.K. financial services regulatory practice. Paul-Michael Rebus, co-head of securitization and structured finance at the company, said that the appointments demonstrate the firm's commitment to its securitization and structured finance group.

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