Bloomberg News

OMAHA - Ameritrade Holding Corp. said chief executive Thomas Lewis resigned abruptly, about three months after taking charge of the stockbroker.

The fifth-largest U.S. online brokerage said in a press statement that Mr. Lewis, whose career has included stints with Credit Suisse First Boston and American Express Co., left "for personal reasons."

The departure by Mr. Lewis, who came to Ameritrade after spending five years revamping the computers of insurer USF&G Corp., stunned analysts, who said it raises questions about the direction of the company. Mr. Lewis founded a technology consulting firm called Seer Technologies and received an award for his work overhauling White House computers during the Reagan administration.

Mr. Lewis was hired in March 1999 as co-chief executive, dividing duties with Ameritrade founder, chairman, and co-CEO Joe Ricketts.

Mr. Lewis gained sole responsibility for the job in May of this year, at age 47.

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