Feb 16 (Reuters) - Star Macquarie banker Nicholas O’Kane, whose resignation from the firm was announced this week less than a year after he received one of the largest pay cheques in banking, has been in talks to join Swiss commodities trading house Mercuria, four people with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

O'Kane's resignation as head of Sydney-based Macquarie's commodities and global markets came as a surprise to many in the market. He had made headlines for earning A$58 million ($38 million) last year, more than Macquarie's CEO and eclipsing pay packages for J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon and Citi’s Jane Fraser.

It was unclear what O'Kane's potential role might be, or how advanced talks were, although two of the sources said a deal was close.

O'Kane did not immediately respond to a LinkedIn message seeking comment.

A Mercuria spokesperson declined to comment.

Mercuria is among the top five global oil traders, although the share of oil in its traded volumes has steadily fallen to less than a third in recent years. The company is also focused on power, natural gas and emissions trading.

It would not be the first time Mercuria brought in an investment bank commodities head. In 2014, it hired a former top executive from Goldman Sachs, Magid Shenouda, who is Mercuria's deputy CEO.

O'Kane left Macquarie with over A$171 million earned in the last six years at the bank, often called the 'Millionaires Factory' because of the high-profile investment bankers it employs, paying millions in remuneration.

Under O'Kane's watch, the commodities and global markets division raked in mammoth profits following volatility triggered by events including Russia's invasion of Ukraine, changing weather patterns, and disruptions from the pandemic.

O'Kane, who spent almost three decades at Macquarie, has kept a low profile since his departure was announced.

($1 = 1.5340 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore, Praveen Menon in Sydney and Julia Payne in Brussels Editing by Tony Munroe and Mark Potter)