(Bloomberg)—DDR Corp. abruptly terminated its chief executive officer, David Oakes, after less than two years at the helm of the U.S. shopping center landlord.
Oakes, who was also interim chief financial officer, won’t be entitled to receive any severance payment, according to a regulatory filing Monday. Thomas August will become CEO, effective immediately, the real estate investment trust said in a statement.
“Mr. Oakes’ termination was not related to the company’s financial or operating results or to any disagreements or concerns regarding the company’s financial or reporting practices,” Beachwood, Ohio-based DDR said in the statement.
Oakes joined DDR in 2007 and became president and CFO of the company in January 2013. He was named CEO in February 2015. He would have received $2.4 million in cash severance if he were terminated without cause, according to a filing in March.
“The suddenness of Oakes’ departure, the lack of severance and the company’s lack of willingness to speak on it suggests to us it was likely personal-conduct related,” Mizuho Securities USA Inc. analysts led by Haendel St. Juste said in a note to clients. They downgraded the shares to underperform from neutral.
DDR rose 1.4 percent to $18.94 at 9:50 a.m. New York time. The shares have gained about 20 percent in the past 12 months.
August is currently chairman of DCT Industrial Trust Inc. He was president and CEO of Equity Office Property Trust, an arm of Blackstone Group LP, from July 2010 through the end of 2015.
DDR said it will continue its search for a permanent CFO and appointed Christa Vesy, the REIT’s chief accounting officer, to fill the job in the interim.
DDR owns and manages 349 shopping centers, with about 113 million square feet (10.5 million square meters) in 37 U.S states and Puerto Rico.
--With assistance from Brandon Kochkodin. To contact the reporter on this story: Oshrat Carmiel in New York at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Taub at [email protected] Christine Maurus
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