NEW YORK CITY—CIT Group‘s John Thain will retire as CEO at the end of March 2016 while continuing as chairman of the board, and will be succeeded by newly named vice chairman Ellen R. Alemany, the company said Wednesday afternoon. CIT is also exploring strategic alternatives for its $10-billion Commercial Air business, and plans to sell its Canadian and Asian businesses.

“Over the past five years we have made significant progress in transforming CIT,” says Thain. Having closed on its acquisition of OneWest Bank this past August, CIT’s plans to sell its international businesses, and possibly sell off the commercial air franchise have ben made with a view toward “further simplifying our bank-centric business model as we focus on meeting the financing needs of our US small business and middle market customers. We believe these decisions will increase shareholder value.”

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