Wachovia Throws CEO Overboard

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The board of Wachovia has ousted Kennedy Thompson as chief executive, blaming him for losses that have cut its market cap in half over the past year. Chairman Lanty Smith has been appointed interim CEO, effective immediately.
Although Wachovia is saying that "no single event" brought about the firing of Thompson, the purchase of Golden West Financial in 2006 is sure to be blamed by most. As you might guess by the name "Golden West" about half of the unit's lending is in California and Florida, two states that both might consider their motto to "the Foreclosure State."
Of course taking a $708 million loss for the first quarter probably didn't help things. Wachovia recently was forced to raise $8 billion in capital to help weather the mortgage slump. That's the kind of thing that keeps the institution alive but tends to piss off existing shareholders.
Next question: is Thompson's ouster the start of a second round of c-suite executions?
By the way, the announcement of the Golden West buy pushed Lehman Brothers, which advised Wachovia, from 15th to 2nd place among M&A advisors to financial companies on deals announced in 2006. Good work, Lehman.

Wachovia ousts CEO Thompson after losses mount
[Reuters]

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