ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- More than 15 senior portfolio managers and marketers have resigned from Eagle Asset Management in the past 20 months, but the departures have not dimmed Eagle President and Chief Operating Officer Stephen G. Hill's optimism about the future.
The names and titles of those who have left read like a company directory, including Kenneth Corba, Eagle's former chief investment officer, who left in January 1999, and Barry Schneirov, former vice president in charge of institutional marketing, whose last day was Aug. 16.
Other portfolio managers who have left include Jeff Parker, Gary McCanley, Margaret Dolan, Cal Chung, Rick Winn and Michael Chren. Among those leaving from the sales side were William Pickles, Mike Brayton, Kevin Dyre and Jennifer Barnes.
While many who have left privately blame conflicts with management, specifically with Chief Executive Officer Richard K. Reiss, publicly they will say only that they left for personal and professional reasons. It was Mr. Reiss, they say, who pulled the plug on what was supposed to be a three-year compensation deal after just 12 months, instituting instead a new deal that paid less. Mr. Hill, who took his position in April, said he could not comment on past deals, but did say that in general they change over time.
Mr. Schneirov spent eight years at Eagle, the last five as its institutional marketing director. When he left, Mr. Schneirov didn't have another job lined up and hinted at problems inside Eagle as the reason for his departure.
"I've been there for a long time, but I haven't enjoyed the last year and a half as much," he said. "So I decided to take some time off."
Many, however, like Mr. Corba, took advantage of job opportunities at larger companies.
"For me it was a bigger job and a good opportunity," said Mr. Corba, now working in New York as the chief investment officer for one of Pacific Investment Management Co.'s equity mutual fund divisions.
"I'm doing the same thing with a much bigger firm with more scale, more reach and more size. It's a larger opportunity and more business autonomy in building an organization."
Mr. Corba left Eagle in January 1999, after four years. During that time, Eagle's assets grew from $1.5 billion to more than $6 billion. St. Petersburg-based Eagle now has $6.5 billion under management.
Eagle replaced him with Ashi Parikh, formerly with Bank One. Mr. Parikh brought with him a number of new money managers and opened a technology office in San Jose, Calif. Eagle has more employees working for it now than it did a year and a half ago, Mr. Hill said.
"There's no question we're stronger now than we were," Mr. Hill said.
"There are a lot of strong people in place and more will be added."