Gregory Fleming LAW ’88 was appointed a senior research scholar and distinguished visiting fellow of the Center for the Study of Corporate Law at Yale Law School on Thursday.

Fleming, a recognized expert in global asset management, was the president and chief operating officer at Merrill Lynch prior to the firm’s $24 billion acquisition by Bank of America last week. Fleming was to oversee investment, corporate and commercial banking at Bank of America, but now plans to leave his post to teach and research topics relating to the recent financial crisis.

In a statement, Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh said he was glad to welcome Fleming, a former graduate, back to the Law School.

“In the past two decades, Greg has led an extraordinary career in global financial services and has justly earned his reputation as a clear-eyed and foresighted manager operating in the eye of the current global financial storm,” Koh said. “From his unique vantage point, he will bring enormous insight to our students, faculty, and graduates, as we try to retrace how we got to where we are, and where we should go from here.”

Fleming joined Merrill Lynch as an investment banker in 1992 and previously was a principal at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. As president, he was the second-highest ranking executive at Merrill Lynch.

In an internal memo to Bank of America employees, Fleming reflected on current circumstances.

“I simply felt that this was the right time for me to look toward a different set of challenges,” he said.

Fleming is credited with helping to engineer Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill, a move that saved the company from the fate of its rival, Lehman Brothers. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that in September, as Lehman neared bankruptcy, Fleming identified Bank of America as a potential merger partner for Merrill and approached a lawyer for the company, spurring the deal that was made official last week.

At Bank of America, Fleming was to report to former Merrill chief executive officer John Thain, the donor of the Bass Library’s Thain Family Café.