John Thain’s turnaround challenge and Super Bowl ad breaks Google’s TV silence

But now that Thain has been tapped to steer CIT Group (CIT, Fortune 500) out of its post-bankruptcy wilderness, he could be remembered as much more than the man who bought a $35,000 office toilet. He could become one of finance’s greatest turnaround artists.

That is because Thain has stepped into the breach before and won big for shareholders, first at the New York Stock Exchange (NYX, Fortune 500), then at Merrill. In fact, his success at the NYSE was among the factors that led to his choice.

"Among the accomplishments that most impressed the Board was his role at the NYSE, where he modernized the exchange and better positioned it to compete in the global marketplace," CIT spokesman Curt Ritter tells Fortune.

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And the markets agree. Hope for Thain’s ability to help the small-business lender find its way sent shares up 2.5% Monday, thanks to the weekend announcement that he is taking over as CIT’s chairman and CEO effective immediately. [Read the full article]

If you watched the Super Bowl Sunday night, you saw at least two unprecedented events: The New Orleans Saints won their first championship, and Google ran an ad for its search engine on television.

The 60-second spot called "Parisian Love" aired during the third quarter of Sunday’s game. The commercial featured several queries being typed into Google’s search field, beginning with "study abroad paris france" to "translate tu es très mignon" and ending with "how to assemble a crib." The ad closed with the message: "Search on."

Google’s (GOOG, Fortune 500) ad stood out, and not just because of its schmaltzy content amid mostly slapstick ads and commercials featuring men with no pants. It was more surprising that Google was putting itself out there since the search giant is notorious for largely refusing to advertise itself. [Read the full article]

Of companies that suspended or reduced 401(k) match programs, 80% planned to restore them this year, according to a survey conducted by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting firm.

Workers were dealt a double-blow during the recession, as historic stock market declines decimated retirement portfolios while companies slashed 401(k) matches to reduce costs.

"We viewed [the 401(k) suspensions] as a temporary measure needed to provide cash flow to companies," said Alison Borland, retirement strategy leader for Hewitt’s outsourcing business, who expected only 50% of companies to restore the match in 2010. "We are relieved that this is reversing this quickly."

The survey also found that employers are losing confidence in their employees’ ability to save for retirement.

Of the 162 mid-to large-sized companies surveyed, 54% of employers said they were less confident, compared to 66% in 2009. [Read the full article]

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Toyota will announce a global recall of its 2010 Prius hybrid vehicles, a source with knowledge of the plans told CNN.

The auto manufacturer will file recall papers with the Japanese and U.S. governments Tuesday, the source said.

Last week, the company admitted a problem with the software that controls the anti-lock braking system of the 2010 model of the car and said it had found a solution for cars that started to roll off of the assembly line in Japan last month.

It has yet to find a solution for the estimated 37,000 cars already on U.S. roads or the more than 200,000 of the 2010 model year vehicles that have been sold worldwide, but the company said Friday that a solution was "near."

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales in the United States, during an online video interview Monday evening, declined to say when — or if — Toyota would recall the car. [Read the full article]

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