MF Global - Bodies continue to be thrown overboard

Yet another senior management casualty at MF Global, this time the Global COO Chris Smith. He has been replaced by his recently appointed deputy in a move that had been rumoured since that appointment was made.

As reported in Financial News, Bernard Dan who joined MF in June 2008 as COO for North America, has been appointed President and Global COO. He was formerly CEO of CBOT.

In the 6 months since the chaos that followed the margin hikes, share price collapse and huge unauthorised trading loss, MF Global has appointed a new CFO, a new Chief Risk Officer and a new Chief Compliance Officer to strengthen its' senior management team. It had been internally believed that these would be sufficient to stave off calls for those at the very top to go.

Hence, this departure is significant - Chris had been the right hand man of Kevin Davis, the CEO, for the last 17 years and they were previously inseparable. Speaking to some of my former colleagues today, there is still some shock that Chris has been cut adrift despite mounting signs. At the same time, there is some doubt that it will be enough for Kevin to save his own job amidst continuing calls from some shareholders for him to be replaced.

Shareholders have suffered a roller coaster ride since the firm was de-merged from Man Group in July 2007 at $27 and hitting a low of $3.38 within 12 months. It closed at $5.21 today, off 17% in today's chaos.

Disclosure - I was formerly a Board Director at Man Financial [now MF Global] until 2005.
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